Second Harvest Heartland – Cultivation mailings improved response

Maximizing income via renewal

The challenge

Second Harvest Heartland had been producing their cultivation pieces with a local creative agency. Their appeals generated high average gift amounts, but they struggled to improve upon their low response rates. So how did we improve the percent response and return on investment of their cultivation mailings?

Russ Reid solution

We conducted a split test against Second Harvest Heartland’s control cultivation strategy in September 2012 to effectively measure performance head to head.

We applied a custom segmentation strategy based on each donor’s recency, frequency and monetary gift history to maximize both response rate and average gift, and customized the ask strategy based on each donor’s unique giving behavior.

A simple yet eye‐catching 4” x 8” package featured a brightly‐colored envelope and Thanksgiving graphics. The copy was short and briefly explained how the donor’s gift would touch lives within their community over the Thanksgiving season.

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As a result, the percent response for the test package was more than double that of the control mailing. The revenue per mailing was over 50% higher and the return on investment was nearly three times higher than that of the control. Additionally, the return on investment was nearly three times higher than that of the control mailing.

In the end, after a back‐test in April 2013 to validate the results, Second Harvest Heartland decided to partner with Russ Reid to produce their cultivation mailings moving forward.

To learn how Russ Reid can help your Food Bank grow beyond, please contact Andrew Olsen (CFRE, Vice President).

View a downloadable PDF of this case study.