Sending “pink slips” to prospective donors as an illustration was the top creative program, capturing the Platinum Big Idea Award – Fundraising That Works prize, during the 35th annual MAXI Awards last night on the opening night of the Bridge to Integrated Marketing Conference in National Harbor, Md., near Washington, D.C.
Mailing pink slips highlighted the loss of staff positions that would occur if they didn’t meet their fundraising goal. It was one of their highest ever-grossing campaigns ever, netting more than $1,245,000.
This was the second consecutive year St. Labre won the Platinum Big Idea Award.
Presented by the Direct Marketing Association of Washington (DMAW), the MAXI Awards were established in 1979 to honor outstanding achievements in the field of direct marketing. Awards are given in three tiers — gold, silver, and bronze, along with the one platinum winner. Entries are judged on six criteria: results, strategy, copy, design/format, production, and innovation. Each entry is judged three times by local judges and once by an out-of-town panel of judges.
The presentation of the awards were done with a hint of sadness, as it was the first MAXI Awards celebration done without the founder of the awards, John Shilgalis, who passed away in January 2013. “I’m sure he will be pleased to have known how the MAXIs have continued to grow and become a standard in our industry,” said Pete Carter, president of DMAW a presenter at the award ceremony last night.
The winners at last night’s ceremony were:
Category: Digital Media
Silver MAXI – ABD Direct: The marketing firm helped increase The Wilderness Society’s new year-end donors by 92 percent from the previous year and increased overall response rate by 35 percent. This was done by changing the website’s design to make it more appealing to the eye.
Silver MAXI – OMP Direct: Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) had its best year-end fundraising campaign – over $300,000 in revenue – thanks to OMP, which helped NRDC create optimal imagery and wording for its campaign.
Gold MAXI – RedEngine Digital: Created a personalized digital marketing campaign that generated $200,000 in revenue for the Special Olympics.
Silver MAXI – Eidolon Communications: Delivered 33 percent open rates on renewal emails delivered by Consumer Reports Foundation. This was done with language designed to mimic and accompany their direct mail renewals.
Bronze MAXI – Chapman, Cubine, Adams and Hussey: Supported a campaign by Guide Dogs for the Blind that delivered 70 percent more revenue than the previous year.
Bronze MAXI – RobbinsKersten Direct: Created a mobile optimized donation form for the National Park Foundation that increased revenue by 30 percent and the number of gifts by 41 percent.
Silver MAXI – The Climate Reality Project: Used all digital media – including social media – to highlight a theory about climate change. This campaign resulted in a 100 percent increase in total revenue for the organization.
Silver MAXI – The Engage Group: Created a multi-email year-end campaign that raised over $110,000—increasing revenue from the previous year’s efforts by 41 percent.
Silver MAXI – Lautman, Maska, Neill & Company: Helped the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine with their 2013 year-end email campaign. The use of a Lightbox for the first time in the organization’s history generated a 40 percent increase in total revenue.
Gold MAXI – RobbinsKirsten Direct: The company won another MAXI for its work on the National Park Foundation’s “30 Days of Giving” email campaign , which generated 20 percent more gifts than the previous year.
Category: Direct Mail Acquisition
Bronze MAXI – Daniller + Company: Created a 6×9 carrier that was sent to lapsed donors. Resulted in a 1.36 percent acquisition rate and $250,000 in net acquisition.
Bronze MAXI – Schultz and Williams: Mail sent by the Toledo Zoo to entice membership resulted in an average gift of $70 and a 50 percent bump in revenue. Letter contained a free admission slip and other savings.
Bronze MAXI – Avalon Consulting Group: Helped National Museum of the American Indian to a 40 percent higher response rate by replacing expensive note cards with colorful bookmarks, and included a survey reply.
Bronze MAXI – The Penn State Alumni Association: The organization struggled with a 1.99 percent response rate until it tried an acquisition test built on knowledge gained from previous test. The result was a “gift membership” to the association for recent grads sent to their parents. This resulted in a 3.84 percent response rate.
Bronze MAXI – Lautman, Maska, Neill and Company: The company earned another award for helping AFS-USA Alumni bring back 470 old members and a $55 average gift per mailing.
Bronze MAXI – Daniller and Company: Using specific list targeting and strategic messaging, they tapped into nearly 1,900 new members for Exploratorium at Pier 15 in San Francisco.
Bronze MAXI – HSP Direct: Used a personalized, and now, new control acquisition brought in nearly 30,000 new donors for FreedomWorks.
Silver MAXI – Fund Raising Strategies: Bought a 3 percent response rate in acquisition and a net profit of $33,000 for PAWS for Purple Hearts, a very small organization without a huge direct mail program.
Silver MAXI – Chapman, Cubine, Adams and Hussey: Created an acquisition campaign for Guide Dogs for the Blind that beat a long standing control by nearly 35 percent in response and decreased cost per new donor by more than 25 percent.
Silver MAXI – Mal Warwick Associates: Worked with the Ocean Conservancy to create what they believed would be the strongest performing package against their popular calendar control, and then back test various elements that included several additional response drivers. The result was a 3.1 percent response.
Silver MAXI – Fundraising That Works: Worked with St. Labre Indian School on a mail campaign that sold a package of stamps. Resulted in $1 for every new donor gained and a 3.33 percent response rate.
Gold MAXI – New River Communications: Tripled Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia’s previous control response rate and actually reduced their cost to acquire a new donor by more than 50 percent.
Gold MAXI – CDR Fundraising Group: Increased response for Toys for Tots by 423 percent over the control and reduced the cost per donor by nearly $12 making the cost recovery ratio 30 percent higher than the control.
Silver MAXI – Mal Warwick Associates: Bought in in 30 percent more donors for Women for Women International than projected with a near 90 percent fulfillment rate on both monthly donations and revenue.
Gold MAXI – Stones’ Phones: A third of the participants on PETA’s “Fundraising Like Rabbits” Town Hall Call stayed on the line for nearly the entire 70-minute event, far exceeding the average Telephone Town Hall duration of 3 1/2 minutes per caller.
Gold MAXI – Chapman, Cubine, Adams and Hussey: The DNC’s New Member Conversion Series recruited more than 21,000 new donors at a profit with nearly $2 million dollars fulfilled in gifts.
Bronze MAXI — Chapman, Cubine, Adams and Hussey: The company won again for its work with EMILY’s List. Over the course of 10 months, they generated nearly $235,000, with a 12 percent conversion rate.
Category: Major Donors
Bronze MAXI – The Civil War Trust: Pushed past the 1,000 member mark, and netted more than $36,000 with an average gift of nearly $1,200.
Silver MAXI – Schultz & Williams, Inc.: Brought in a 42 percent increase in gross revenue over last year’s effort to a similar audience and a 26 percent increase in net revenue for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Gold MAXI – Mal Warwick Associates: Reinstated 266 donors, and saved $12 per donor for National Organization for Women.
Bronze MAXI – CDR Fundraising Group: Increased percent response by 112 percent, average gift by 22% percent and net revenue by 249 percent for National Humane Education Society’s renewal program.
Bronze MAXI – Mal Warwick Associates: Boosted response rates for Ocean Conservancy from 3 percent to 14 percent and doubled the net from the prior renewal.
Silver MAXI – CDR Fundraising Group: Mailing for Toys for Tots increased net revenue over the control by 119 percent and response rates rose 116 percent.
Silver MAXI – CDR Fundraising Group: Delivered a 19 percent higher response rate than the previous second-gift control and 56 percent more net revenue for Wounded Warrior Project.
Gold MAXI – Fundraising That Works: Created the highest-grossing campaigns in the history of St. Labre Indian School, netting more than $1,245,000.
Category: Direct Special Mail Appeal
Bronze MAXI – Civil War Trust: Their effort to raise money to save war memorabilia paid enormous dividends, garnering a 20.85 percent response and netting over $200,000 dollars.
Bronze MAXI – OMP Direct: Their work with Doctors Without Borders to raise money for Typhoon Haiyana victims produced a 8.8 percent response and netted an average gift of $102.
Bronze MAXI – MINDset Direct: A specialized, mysterious package delivered on behalf of the Epilepsy Foundation produced an 8 percent response rate, even though there was no premium and an average give of $47.
Bronze MAXI – Eidolon Communications: Worked on a newsletter with International Rescue Committee that raised over 50 percent more revenue than the prior year’s newsletter while nearly doubling the response rate.
Bronze MAXI – Chapman, Cubine, Adams and Hussey: The Animal League Defense Fund’s “Buried Alive” appeal brought in more than double the response rate from the year before and five times as much net income.
Bronze MAXI – Newport Creative: Delivered a 9.55 percent response for SPCA-LA that was a 23 percent increase over last year’s holiday mailing, netting nearly $150,000.
Bronze MAXI – Civil War Trust: Created $30 to $1 Match appeal that delivered an $80 average gift and a 9.51 percent response. Overall, netted over $300,000 before the 30 to 1 match was applied.
Bronze MAXI – Eidolon Communications: Delivered $164,000 net income for an end-of-life issues campaign, which comes from a 66 percent increase in revenue over the previous year.
Bronze MAXI – Chapman, Cubine, Adams and Hussey: Delivered a spring mailing for the AARP Foundation that had a response rate of almost 8 percent and an average gift of $16.
Silver MAXI – HSP Direct: Working with FreedomWorks, managed a 20 percent response rate from just under 800 low-dollar donors.
Silver MAXI – Avalon Consulting Group: Along with garnering the highest average gift of any campaign for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the company also increased response rates from the previous year’s mailing in the same month by 22 percent.
Silver MAXI – Russ Reid: Defenders of Wildlife had success with Russ Reid, bringing in 161 percent more net revenue and lowering the cost per donor by 29 percent.
Silver MAXI – ABD Direct: Worked with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to beat the previous year’s mailing’s net results by a whopping 92 percent.
Silver MAXI – Lautman, Maska, Neill and Company: The New Israel Fund’s campaign exceeded projections by 74 percent and despite mailing 1,000 fewer names than was budgeted, raised $106,000 from just 292 gifts.
Silver MAXI – The Civil War Trust: “The Battle of Fleetwood Hill” appeal became one of the Top-Five most successful appeals in the history of the Civil War Trust and the highest grossing appeal of 2013 with an 11 percent response rate.
Gold MAXI – Newport Direct: Best Friends Animal Society sent a mailing to their followers that calculated how much each person would need to donate to raise the remaining funds they needed – that came out to $123 per person. The result? They garnered $1.1 million in net revenue; 80 percent gave the suggested $123 or more.
Gold MAXI – Mal Warwick Associates: The LA AIDS Project’s efforts to revive its decade long upgrade control to recruit mid-level donors was a success, leading to a more than 100 percent increase in average gift and generating four times as many $1,000 plus gifts as the control did the year before.
Gold MAXI – The Civil War Trust: Their efforts to save a property called Reeds Bridge resulted in an 8 percent response rate and almost double the amount the Trust needed to close the deal on this historic property.
Gold MAXI – Newport Creative: Best Friends Animal Society’s “SAVE THEM ALL” campaign generated the highest revenue for the mailing slot in three years, with a 16 percent higher average gift and a 276 percent return on investment.
Category: Political Direct Mail
Bronze MAXI – Chapman, Cubine, Adams and Hussey: A low-dollar high class package, mailed to loyal DNC donors across the board generated more than 17,000 responses bringing in $745,000 dollars with an average gift of more than $40.00.
Silver MAXI – Campaign Funding Direct: Ken Cuccinelli’s gubernatorial campaign in Virginia sought to use Standard First Class in Acquisition to boost his campaign. Compared to their earlier acquisition, this mailing’s 2.47 percent response brought in a 60 percent increase in average gift.
Gold MAXI – Chapman, Cubine, Adams and Hussey: First Lady Michelle Obama was the big winner with this campaign; An appeal to DNC donors to wish President Obama a happy birthday was the highest grossing appeal of the year generating $845,000 dollars.
Bronze MAXI – RobbinsKirsten Direct: Working with the Coast Guard Foundation to let donors watch the rescue of a ship stranded during Hurricane Sandy, this appeal raised 49 percent more revenue in the mail than the previous year’s mailing with a 17.2 percent response rate and a 27 percent open rate.
Silver MAXI – Chapman, Cubine, Adams and Hussey: The campaign for People for the American Way raised $400,000 for a pre-renewal series with an overall average gift of $61.
Bronze MAXI – Epsilon: Increased net revenue by an outstanding 80 percent and response rate by 153 percent over the San Diego Zoo’s previous year’s mailing in the same month. Anchored with direct mail and a supporting email campaign.
Silver MAXI – Lautman, Maska, Neill and Company: Worked with the Marine Corp Heritage Foundation to develop the first integrated fundraising campaign of its kind for the Foundation. The results? A $66 average gift.
Silver MAXI – Fund Raising Strategies: This multi-media fundraising campaign for Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue generated overall open rates on the email side of 56 percent and a mail response rate of 15 percent.
Gold MAXI – CDR Fundraising Group: With its help, Wounded Warrior Projectraised over $10 million in gross revenue with an average gift of $165, and they increased giving over the same time period in 2012 by 224 percent.