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Case Studies

How a Year-End Lapsed Appeal Garnered Support in Advance of a Museum Opening 

2018 DMAW MAXI Award Winner



The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is fulfilling a long-held dream of creating a world class museum devoted to the art and science of movies — the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Its exhibitions and programs will convey the magic of cinema and offer a glimpse behind the screen, illuminating the creative and collaborative process of filmmaking. The Academy Museum will seek to inspire, entertain, and educate all visitors about the rich history of motion pictures and their essential role in our culture.


The opening of the Academy Museum, located in the heart of Los Angeles, will be a benchmark moment in the Academy’s 90-year history and a major cultural moment with local, regional, national, and international reach. The Academy Museum approached TLC to manage a direct response fundraising program that would generate enough funds and interest to support their opening.

TLC Solution

In late fall of 2017, TLC deployed a Year-End Lapsed Appeal consisting of two mailings: a November appeal plus a December follow-up. The focus of the first mailing was to appeal to prior donors to help bring the Academy Museum to life with a renewed gift as a Founding Supporter — and what better movie to tie into this theme than the ©Disney∙Pixar film, Toy Story.

The November mailing utilized imagery from Toy Story, and the letter was signed by actor Tom Hanks, voice of the character “Woody” from the highly popular film series.

This first mailing consisted of an A8 closed face carrier with Tom Hanks’ signature on the reverse side of the flap; a 7.25” x 14” letter with a slit and nest reply utilizing the Academy Museum’s brand letterhead and “Woody’s” character image; an A7 return envelope; and a 10.5” x 8” insert with Toy Story imagery and a call to action to make a renewed gift as a Founding Supporter.

The December follow up mailing utilized the same components but excluded the insert, Tom Hanks’ name on the carrier, and “Woody’s” image on the letter. The letter referred to the prior letter signed by Tom Hanks; however this letter was signed by the Academy Museum’s Founding Director, Kerry Brougher.

Both mailings were sent to the same audience unless a gift had been received prior to December 4, one week before the second mailing, in which case that supporter was suppressed.


The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures 2017 Year-End Lapsed Appeal campaign outperformed projections, producing 140% more gifts, 1,997% more in revenue, aided by 773% higher average gift.

Performance showed healthy potential for continuing to target all donor segments without concern for exhausting the file.