NWF, DirectMail.com partner for renewal contract, oil spill fundraising

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has signed DirectMail.com to a two-year contract to handle its Associates Membership Renewal Program, effective May 1. The marketing services company will manage data processing and packaging services for the nonprofit conservation organization.

“Renewal efforts are critical to maintaining a donor base, and properly managing that type of campaign is important for the National Wildlife Federation,” said Shawn Salta, VP, mail operations & postal affairs at DirectMail.com.

NWF chose DirectMail.com from a pool of five undisclosed shops after the nonprofit put out an RFP, said Martina White, director of marketing for membership acquisitions and renewals at NWF. NWF’s previous renewals mail shop had been Iwco Direct, she said.

DirectMail.com and NWF have worked together off and on for the past six years on a contractual basis, as well as on an ad hoc basis, Salta said. White explained that this previous relationship and NWF’s awareness of DirectMail.com’s capabilities set them apart from competing companies.

The renewal work will involve sending approximately 500,000 mailings per month to reactivate dormant donors, who can receive up to ten renewal notices.

Merkle, another of NWF’s agency partners, will contribute copy and creative for each month’s mailing, while DirectMail.com will handle data processing, packaging and some of the printing for each renewal effort, White said.

The two companies have also partnered to create a direct mail campaign to help raise money for the oil spill disaster clean-up in the Gulf of Mexico. Merkle designed the copy and creative for these mailings as well, after DirectMail.com recommended a package design that could be turned around the quickest, given the urgency of the oil spill disaster. A standard #10 envelope design proved the most cost-effective and easiest to manufacture.

“DirectMail.com is on our go-to list of shops for any number of different campaigns we do, so when we identified the need for a quick turnaround on the package design, we called two vendors, and DirectMail.com had better pricing, so we went with them,” White explained. “From the time we awarded them the business, 850,000 mailings had to be turned around in five days, which they did.”

The NWF has 1 million active donors, she said. The nonprofit does one appeal mailing each month, in which donors are asked to donate to a particular environmental cause.

“This will be an extra appeal mailing for May,” White said. “Typically an appeal mailing is to 400,000 donors, so this is more than double that, due to the broader interest and timeliness of the emergency.”

All proceeds from the fund-raising effort will go toward on-site cleanup, where NWF president and CEO Larry Schweiger is currently aiding the cause, White said.

“This will be restricted fundraising, with all money going to Gulf rather than going toward keeping the lights on here,” she explained. “It’s a matter of just grabbing the opportunity when it arose.”

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