CD-ROM May Bring More Cash to the Neighborhood

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Nonprofit Cabrini Connections, Chicago, hopes an interactive CD-ROM in its direct mailings will encourage more local businesses to join its cause in creating neighborhood infrastructures for less fortunate children.

Cabrini is not looking at this as a total departure from the mailings and programs that it has done.

"We are looking at this as an extension of what we have been doing from the start," said David Bassill, president/CEO. "It is an easy way to deliver a complex message to a group of people that don't have much time to sift through mail.

"Instead of delivering the message in fragmented pieces, this wraps it all into one flowing piece in which the user can stop, go back, speed ahead or repeat any part of it they want to," he said.

Because of money restrictions, Cabrini will only be able to distribute a little more than 1,000 pieces for this mailing. But Bassill said that if this campaign is able to generate enough revenue, it will make the next campaign much larger.

For Lightfall Interactive, Evanston, IL, a business communications solutions developer and the creator of the CD-ROM being used by Cabrini, this marks the first time it has developed a CD for a nonprofit group.

"We usually create these CDs for corporations who are looking to teach their workers or consumers how to use something," said David Golder, founder of Lightfall Interactive. "We chose it because it was a charity in our neighborhood that needs our help and it's a cause that directly affects our community."

Close to 90 percent of the CDs will go to businesses and the other 10 percent will go to citizens in the Chicago area. As with most of its mailings, Cabrini is mostly targeting businesses. According to Bassill, businesses within this community will be affected most in the long run if the kids in the area don't get the best possible education and succeed.

Golder said the key to making the CD effective is to not make it too long and to design it so the user is involved and in charge of what they are seeing and doing. The CD lasts 10 minutes.

Cabrini drops 10 to 12 mailings a year, totaling 70,000 pieces. Its donor base consists of about 75 corporations and 800 individuals. Since the organization was launched in 1992, it has raised $1.7 million.

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