Cartoon Calendar Draws Response for Habitat

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Cute sells, or at least it did in a fundraising mailing by Habitat for Humanity International that pulled in more than a 2 percent response rate.

The premium was a 16-month 2002-03 calendar featuring colorful cartoon creatures and reminder stickers along with a letter.

"Everyone says it's cute," said Tina Collins, manager of direct marketing production at Habitat for Humanity International, Americus, GA.

The response rate slightly above 2 percent was almost 1 percentage point better than other premium packages used by the organization, Collins said. Previous premiums included stationery, greeting cards and labels.

Habitat for Humanity is a nondenominational Christian organization that raises funds and builds housing for those in need of shelter. Habitat has built 125,000 houses in 80 countries since 1976, including 45,000 across the United States.

In keeping with the organization's mission of providing shelter, each picture shows the happy-looking animals outside a house.

The calendar campaign was mailed to more than 4.5 million prospects and existing donors in several drops in May and June. Another drop mailed in September. The mailings were about 75 percent acquisition and 25 percent house file, Collins said, though she would not break out response by segment. Habitat for Humanity primarily prospects to donors from like-minded organizations' files.

Collins would not discuss the average amount donors contributed.

Habitat for Humanity has used other calendars. This is the third year that it has mailed a calendar premium.

"Last year we did a calendar of drawings by children, and that did well, too," Collins said.

Plus, a calendar keeps the organization in the minds of recipients throughout the year.

The constant in the package was the letter. Though the content does change, Habitat for Humanity always includes a story about an individual or family that realized the dream of having a home through the organization.

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