Veterans Group Re-Enacts Its Stamp Act

Share this content:
Faced with declining response rates, fundraisers at Disabled American Veterans have decided once again to put return postage stamps on envelopes included in acquisition mailings. The organization had terminated the practice in 1992, 14 months after initiating it.


Last fall, the nonprofit, which provides services and advocacy for disabled veterans, tested 25,000 packages with stamped return envelopes against 25,000 without stamps, said Susan Loth, assistant director of fundraising. Response rates on the packages with stamped envelopes increased from 5 percent to 8 percent.


Though stamped envelopes raise the cost of the packages considerably, the better response rates will allow DAV to send fewer packages, so the return on investment is much improved.


Traditionally, DAV sends 30 million acquisition packages a year, or 3 million every month except June and October. The nonprofit plans to send only 18 million of the new packages yearly, on a monthly schedule yet to be determined.


Loth expects to drop the first packages as early as July but no later than September.


"Given the possibility of increases in postal rates, the situation is volatile," she said.


The package consists of several letters, labels, flag decals, and a return form and envelope. The letter suggests donations based on pennies a day over the course of a year. The check-off boxes on the tear-off reply form suggest donation amounts, for example, of $7.30 (2 cents a day) and $18.25 (5 cents a day). DAV uses lists of mail-order buyers, and the typical donor is older than age 60.


In the late 1960s, house-file testing of envelopes with different combinations of stamps on return envelopes showed that "the greater the number of stamps, the higher the response rate," Loth said.


Until the mid-1980s, acquisition mailings made money or broke even without stamps on return envelopes. Then results began to change. In 1990, DAV tested return postage stamps on acquisition mailings, and the response rate went from 7 percent to 12 percent.


DAV stamped its acquisition packages from August 1991 to October 1992, when increased postal rates lowered the ROI to the point of unprofitability.


But when response rates, typically 7 percent, began dropping in 1995 to as low as 2 percent, DAV fundraisers started to consider returning to the 1991-92 model.


For now, Loth plans to "continue to evaluate the use of multiple stamps on return envelopes, especially with looming postage increases for 2002."


Loading links....

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

We recently were named B2B Magazine's Direct Marketing Agency of the Year, and with good reason: We make real, measureable, positive change happen for our clients. A full-service agency founded in 1974, Bader Rutter expertly helps you get the right message to the right audience at the right time through the right channels. As we engage our clients' audiences along their journey, direct marketing (email, direct mail, phone, SMS) and behavioral marketing (SEM, retargeting, contextual) channels deliver information relevant to the needs of each stage. We are experts at implementing and leveraging marketing technologies such as CRM and marketing automation in order to synchronize sales and marketing communications. Our team of architects and activators plan, execute, measure and adjust in real time to ensure the strategy is working as needed and change things if it's not.

Find out more here »

DMN's Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here