In 2007-2008, we were chosen to manage the direct mail campaign and raise a record amount of money –over $107 million in the mail–for Senator and then President Barack Obama. In 2011-12, we were asked to do it all again and we are especially proud of our work which shattered all previous records—raising over $147 million through the mail from almost 875,000 individual donors.
More money through direct mail than any political campaign in American history
Many factors contributed to the record-breaking success of the 2012 Obama for America direct mail fundraising campaign—cutting-edge donor file segmentation strategies, state-of-the-art micro-targeting of potential donors, multi-channel integration moving donors seamlessly from offline to online to offline again and a completely new and different creative strategy.
We believe our ability to elicit an average of 2.68 contributions per donor and create over 300,000 Obama for America multi-channel donors was directly related to our willingness to discard the look and feel of low-end traditional direct mail by employing higher-end graphics, four-color inserts and higher-level use of personalization to give the mail a look much more like a multi-faceted, interactive website.
In addition, there was no attempt made to keep donations locked into predetermined fundraising channels. In fact, quite the opposite was true. We highlighted and aggressively pushed direct mail donors to use multiple channels – including dedicated URL’s, special 800 numbers for donors to call and mail-in donor forms on BarackObama.com to encourage those with reservations about online giving to contribute through the mail.
We are particularly proud of the “Convention Photo” appeal, which came at an interesting time. Sixty days out from Election Day, we had the dual challenge of expressing our appreciation for donor’ past support, while also raising as much money as possible for the final stretch. By September 2012, most Obama for America donors has received scores of fundraising appeals, so we saw this mailing as a crucial moment to both thank them for their generous and ongoing support, and ask them to step forward once more as the election moved to its final and critical days.
This appeal mailed to Obama for American donors immediately after the 2012 Democratic National Convention. The strategy was to combine two central ingredients we believe are critical to direct mailing success. 1) The important of authentic voices – the letter and insert are each written in the distinctive “voice” of the President and First Lady; and 2) The importance of drawing and sustaining a personal connection to donors driven by both language and package technique.
The result was one of the most successful of the record-breaking fundraising campaign.