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Case Studies

Background

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, located in Harlem, New York, is a research unit of The New York Public Library system and is recognized as one of the leading institutions focusing exclusively on African-American, African Diaspora, and African experiences.

The Schomburg Center’s Fall Appeal has typically been a message from the Director of the Schomburg Center focused on the tragic history of violence on Black men and women in America with references to current events. However, in 2016, the Schomburg Center was between directors (a new director was announced but would not start until December) and the typical copy theme and commentary would not be as effective without a leader in place. Our challenge was to create a completely new package that performed as well as past campaigns.

TLC solution

Our strategy was to tackle the issue head-on and deploy a completely different package. Instead of an annual letter from the Director, we used a member survey concept with a first-time signer – someone who was a long-time staff member bridging the gap from one Director to the next. The copy focused on the changes at the Schomburg Center, such as the new Director, recent and upcoming renovations, and how the staff at the Schomburg Center was working hard to prepare for the future and the new Director. In addition to the new letter copy theme, a Member File Survey Card was included as the involvement device. This Member File Survey Card included a 5 question survey and an open ended request for words of welcome, guidance or encouragement for the new Director from supporters.

Shomburg - Member File Card Survey Package

Results

The new package performed beyond expectations and generated nearly 10% increase in donations compared to 2015 and also increased net revenue by 15%. In addition to donations, the Schomburg Center received numerous positive responses via the Member File Survey Card’s open-ended question and the staff was pleased to have meaningfully connected with their supporters during a time of transition.

Schomburg Response Rate Graph
Schomburg ROI Graph