The Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery is a not for profit agency offering free 24-hour emergency childcare and parental support so parents can get the break they need and children can escape the stressful situations at home. In 2011 Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery provided safe care for nearly 4,000 children. Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery also provides parent education, crisis counseling, referrals to support agencies and their H.O.P.E. follow up program.
Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery’s major fundraiser is its Annual Appeal. This fundraiser is a two step process. The first step brings 100 volunteers together over 3 hours for a phone-a-thon to contact potential and previous donors. The second step is to send a follow up direct mail piece to the donor that includes information about VBCN and a pledge card. The pledge card is personalized based on the results of the phone call. In year’s past, the project required a complex coordination process as each volunteer hand wrote on the pledge sheet the result of individual phone conversations. This cumbersome effort, with over 6,000 potential donors, was handled manually by the volunteer group. The handwritten pledge sheet required VBCN to mail each piece at full postal rates, not the non-profit rate for which they would otherwise qualify. VBCN wanted to simplify the process allowing them to qualify for the non-profit postage rate and to be able to reach more donors in the same time period.
Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery and Lawton Printing partnered to find a way to maximize the efforts of the volunteers and lower the cost of postage. Rather than hand writing on pledge sheets, a spreadsheet was created that each volunteer could access. The volunteer then simply filled in a field with the results of the phone call and a unique, personalized pledge card was generated based on the volunteer’s spreadsheet input. The data gathered at the phone-a-thon event was input in a spreadsheet that was sent to Lawton Printing. Using this data Lawton Printing printed the pieces on our Indigo digital press. Each piece was personalized — “signed” with the caller’s name, the amount pledged and a thank you from the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery. If the caller left a voicemail, a different message was printed on the card. If no contact was made by phone, a third message was printed.
The VBCN’s 2012 Annual Appeal is on track to be one of the most successful yet in recent years, and has already raised 5% more than the previous year, but also netting more revenue because costs were reduced with the new process. Only seven cents were spent for each dollar raised. Because the pieces mailed were not hand-written, the VBCN saved nine cents in postage on each piece. The volunteers were happy with the ease of the new process, the donors received a personalized message and the VBCN was able to raise over $115,000 in one effort.