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*English-Only Mailing Targets Patriots

U.S. English, Washington, saw a 1.5 percent response rate less than two weeks after it dropped nearly 1 million direct mail pieces to prospects it hoped would join its efforts in making English the official language of the U.S. Government.

The nonprofit, founded in 1983 by late Senator S.I. Hayakawa (R-CA), conducts 7 million to 8 million acquisition mailings throughout the year to educate people about the English Language Empowerment Act.

With the new acquisition piece, instead of explaining H.R. 123, the organization is focusing on getting people on board by asking them 10 questions about the issue, said Will Black, director of development at U.S. English.

“Instead of pinning our hopes onto one piece of legislation and expecting everyone to understand it, we wanted to start appealing to a broader group of individuals,” Black said. “There are the nonpolitical junkies that we had to reach. We wanted to get them on board first and then start the education process. This is a more building block process that we believe will be more effective.”

“If what we are seeing in this first 11 days of real return time is any indication of what we are going to see … this is going to prove to be a very effective piece,” Black said.

The survey asks questions ranging from “Does it concern you that English is ceasing to be thought as of America's language?” and “Do you feel it is the U.S. taxpayer's obligation to pay for providing government services to everyone in the language of his or her choice?” Respondents are asked to fill out a survey registration, make a donation and are encouraged to contact their elected officials.

For this mailing, which occurred in two drops over one week, Black used 45 different lists. Some of them included The National Review, The National Taxpayers Union, the Abraham Lincoln Foundation, the Senior's Coalition, United Seniors, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Paralyzed Veterans.

“Typically, lists containing older conservative people as well as veteran lists tend to work well for us,” Black said. “But we do have some liberal lists that we mail to that also produce well. I think the reason for that is we have an issue that cuts through the spectrum since we are appealing to two different segments.”

Black said conservatives and veterans respond well to the issue because of its patriotic element, while liberals are likely to respond because “we are not a group trying to put up a wall around the United States.” He describes the organization as pro-immigrant.

“We want people to come to this country and we want to do everything we can to help them learn the language,” he said.

U.S. English has a database of 1.3 million members and donors.

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