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Case Studies

Background

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York City remembers and honors those killed in the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993, as well as those who risked their lives to save others and who demonstrated extraordinary compassion in the aftermath of the attacks. Visitors from all over the world come to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum to experience the powerful exhibitions, educational programs, and commemoration.

The 9/11 Memorial officially opened and was commemorated in New York City in the year 2011 and direct mail fundraising results that year were the strongest since the program had started in 2007. People were excited about the Memorial and highly motivated to contribute.

Though the strong results were certainly celebrated, it begged the question: Where do we go from here – and how do we sustain momentum and interest?

TLC solution

For starters, we knew that the new direct mail acquisition packaged needed to achieve 3 objectives:

  • Engage and attract new donors to combat the inevitable attrition due to the Memorial being completed and free to the public;
  • Raise the necessary revenue to finish building the Museum and sustaining the Memorial; and,
  • Find a control package for future direct mail acquisition campaigns.

To achieve this, the “Invitation” Acquisition package was born. This format evoked the exclusivity of an invitation by using a large announcement carrier and a letter sharing the full mission of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.

From 2012 to early 2013, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum pushed a “Charter Member” donor message in the Acquisition packages. A buckslip insert featured the benefits of becoming a Charter Member and offered a back-end premium for donations over $100 and a letter helped foster a connection with the prospect by using a more personal, familial technique.

Drawing on the success of the 2012 Acquisition package, but needing to adjust for the impending opening of the Museum, the messaging in the 2013 and 2014 packages shifted to invite prospects to become an “Inaugural Member” of the Museum. Strategically, this shift in the program caused us to move away from a personal narrative to institutional copy that tied the organization’s objectives with the role of membership. The buckslip was also updated to a brochure that detailed membership levels and associated benefits as well as provided an overview of the various collections and tributes hosted by the Memorial & Museum.

Results

The “Invitation” Acquisition package performed beyond all expectations, generating a total of 2,241 “Charter Members” and 3,212 “Inaugural Members” for the 9/11 Memorial & Museum over a span of 3 years. Equally impressive, the average gift for the donor program was a high $81.69 in 2012 and this amount increased to $114.27 in 2013 and an even higher $145.04 in 2014. (Note: the minimum ask amount for 2013 and 2014 was $70 and $74, respectively, yet the average gift still greatly exceeded projections. This is largely due many people joining at the “Family” level – a $250 ask.)

Perhaps most astounding of all was our ability to mail close to half a million pieces in 2014 –almost double than that of 2012 – while generating $79,281.77 in net revenue for the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. These metrics speak to the success and longevity of the “Invitation” Acquisition package for the organization.

The success of this package also resulted in winning a 2015 DMAW MAXI Award in the Workhorse category!