Double-digit Response Rates for Middlebury College

Annual Giving Multi-Channel Case Study

Middlebury College – Middlebury,VT


With over 50,000 alumni, Middlebury College wanted to do a focused campaign to engage young alumni in updating their profile information online. Updated information is essential to reaching their alumni, and the Development and Communication departments were intrigued with eMarketing. They wanted to test the effectiveness of a PURL campaign. In addition to having young alumni update their contact information online. A secondary objective was to employ a “soft ask” to receive online donations to the school’s annual fund.


Middlebury College utilized Curtis 1000 to help put together a three-component campaign to their young alumni. The multi-channel campaign, which dropped in late October, consisted of an initial direct mail postcard with a PURL, sent to 9,112 young alumni, and two follow-up emails to anyone who had not yet visited the PURL. Alumni were segmented into four groups: those celebrating a 5, 10, or 15 year reunion and anyone who fell outside of those reunion years. Each component’s creative reflected the four segmented groups.

Once the recipient visited the PURL, from either the postcard or email, they entered a password and were taken to a page that had pre-loaded the contact information Middlebury College had on file. The recipient could update the information and upon completion hit the submit button. On the Thank You page was a “Soft Ask” to Give to Middlebury. The user could click the “give” button or be redirected in 20 seconds to Middlebury’s existing online giving site


The campaign was active for three months – from October 27 through December 31. The PURL saw a 32.7% total visits rate. The first email to 6,728 young alumni had an open rate of 30.28%. The second follow-up email, sent to 4,137 young alumni, had an open rate of 15.08%. Total responses on the Update Profile page were 29.1%.

An unexpected result was the online gifts total that Middlebury College received with the “Soft Ask” on the PURL Thank You landing page. The campaign resulted in 139 online gifts with an average gift size of $103.26 through December 31, a 1.53% response rate.

Customer Feedback

Middlebury College had little opportunity to measure the success of an email campaign in the past and attributed the results of this project to the uniqueness of the PURL. Sue Regier, Middlebury’s Director of Annual Giving, stated: “I enjoyed working with the team at Curtis 1000. As with any new technology, this was, in many ways, a learning experience for all of us and I was impressed with Curtis’s willingness to flex to Middlebury’s cultural needs.”

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Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Multi-Channel Case Study


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Have You Seen Our New Website?

Please visit our new website and give us your feedback below!

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Posted by on January 5, 2012 in General Interest


A great plan to boost open rates

Multi-Channel Athletic Fund Case Study

Seton Hall University – South Orange, New Jersey

The Challenge

Seton Hall University is a private Catholic university situated only 14 miles outside of New York City with an enrollment of 5,200 undergraduate and 4,400 graduate students. Seton Hall has struggled in the past with engaging alumni and was looking for new ways to encourage donations. For this particular campaign, the university decided to reach out to alumni and friends with an affiliation to the Athletic Department—not only to solicit donations, but also to begin creating a relationship with this group.


Seton Hall used an email and postcard campaign with a PURL to reach out to two segments: Athletic Alumni and general alumni/friends of the Athletic Department. Recipients were encouraged to update their contact information and communication preferences via the password-protected PURL. When updating their contact information, the recipient was encouraged to join the Pirate Blue, the Seton Hall organization associated with the Athletic Fund. Members would receive special Athletic Department updates, privileges and a car magnet for joining. In addition, a donation in any amount would enter the donor into a drawing for four court side seats to a school basketball game. Once a recipient finished updating contact information, the “Thank You” page again asked for donations in support of the Athletic Fund.


The email was very successful with an overall 18.29% open rate. The athletic segment had an outstanding open rate of 24.88% and the general segment had an open rate of 17.13%. The postcard saw an overall 3.22% response rate as well. Seton Hall was so happy with this PURL campaign that they decided to do another a few months later. Honoring its promise to keep Pirate Blue members informed about what is happening on campus, a PURL was used to create communication that introduced new coaches to the email recipients. The email closed with a soft ask link. Though no results are currently available, the customer is very pleased with the campaign to date.

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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in Multi-Channel Case Study


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How Much Money Do Americans Give Online?

The Internet is the fastest growing communication channel for nonprofits

Nonprofit consultancy Convio recently released a new infographic that illustrates that the Internet is the fastest growing channel for nonprofits. The Internet is helping non-profits raise money, raise awareness and communicate with constituents. Online donations are the highest they have ever been!

Have you seen this happening on your campus? Are your constituents giving online? Why or why not? What is your online presence like? What is working for you? Let us know!

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Posted by on September 16, 2011 in General Interest


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Fresh look to website made easy

Multi-Channel Case Study

California Coast University – Santa Ana, CA

The Challenge:

California Coast University (CCU) is a distance learning institution, founded in 1973, offering degree programs designed for students whose geographic, professional, or personal time commitments keep them from completing their education in traditional on-campus programs. Being a non-traditional school with admitting and graduating on the needs and terms of the student, the Development Coordinator of the Admissions/Development Department expressed the need to better reach prospective students and share the benefits of CCU—plus, finding one company that could assist in all of their marketing efforts.


California Coast University utilized Curtis 1000 to do a full redesign of their website. During the discovery phase in March 2009, Curtis 1000 learned that CCU needed a fresh look to their website— one that was easy to manage in-house. Their current website felt cluttered and out-dated. CCU also expressed wanting to learn how to use their website more in their marketing efforts.

The new site went live in October 2009. It was clean, engaging, and easy to navigate. The Curtis 1000 Web designer trained the CCU staff on how to update the website themselves through the content management system and templates. Plus, styling tips and best practices were passed along to keep their image and brand consistent.

Since the website project, Curtis 1000 continues to help California Coast University express their brand through the redesign of their new printed bulletin for prospective students and email campaigns to drive enrollment. Previously using an online email platform, CCU was restricted to templates and managing all aspects of the campaign. Curtis 1000 designed and implemented their email campaigns through the back half of the year to coordinate with the new website design and express a strong call-to-action.


When asked about this experience, Christi Okuma, Development Coordinator with California Coast University, replied: “Working with Curtis 1000 is always a positive experience. When something is asked of them they always deliver. The creative ideas proposed for the website were exactly what we wanted. We constantly receive compliments on our new site. Not only is it more user friendly, it also allows us to better track user traffic, and capture quality leads. Curtis 1000 definitely played a major role in getting CCU to the next level.”

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Posted by on August 17, 2011 in Multi-Channel Case Study


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Attendance rate doubled for open house!

PURL Helps West Catholic double attendance rate for open house

West Philadelphia Catholic High School – Philadelphia, PA

The Challenge:

The West Philadelphia Catholic High School (West Catholic) is part of the Secondary School System of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, an urban environment which is open to an interdenominational population. The school enrolls 500 students in grades nine through twelve. As with many Catholic high schools, West Catholic is competing with private and charter schools for enrollment. In some areas, the Catholic  elementary school populations are shrinking. The high schools are being forced to  look outside of the traditional feeder schools in order to keep enrollments up. They  have the budget and are anxious for new recruiting methods that work and show measurable results.


West Catholic’s Admissions Department utilized Curtis 1000 to put together an ongoing multi-channel campaign of three mailings with PURLs, digital print and fulfillment for their admissions packets. The first mailing, using a purchased list,  dropped in mid-September and went to families based on a radius around the school,  household income, and the presence of children 12-14 years old. The postcard invited them to an upcoming open house and to click on the PURL to find out more  information. Once on the PURL, the recipient could request an admissions packet,  check off their interests and find out more about the school. The thank-you page gave upcoming event information, including open houses and test dates, plus a link to West Catholic’s home page.

In late September, a second mailing was dropped specifically to Pastors and Catholic School Principals in the area. This list came from the local Archdiocese. The mailing included a segmented letter, poster and one complete admissions packet. Curtis  1000 printed and fulfilled all of the items in the admissions packet, which included an application, an overview booklet, and information about tuition, fees and important dates. A supply of admission packets was also sent to West Catholic for their October open house.

During the fall, West Catholic learned that two area Catholic high schools were closing suddenly. Responding quickly, Curtis 1000 and West Catholic pulled together an emergency postcard mailing with a PURL, segmented to families of each of the two closing schools. The postcard communicated empathy about the closing of the current school and offered a discounted registration fee, a special visitation day and  an open house. The PURL had the same format as the one used in the first mailing.


The fall open house attendance doubled to over 100 and the school has 6 early registrations this year, compared to none last year.

Customer Feedback:

West Catholic is very pleased with the communication strategy Curtis 1000 designed and implemented. They are particularly happy with how easily and quickly Curtis 1000 was able to respond with a postcard recruiting program when a neighboring school unexpectedly announced its closing. The school was paying more and receiving fewer results from large print ads in area newspapers. The relationship is continuing with spring updates and mailings to continue their admissions drive.

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Posted by on August 5, 2011 in Multi-Channel Case Study


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Curtis 1000 Forms a Team for 2-Day Breast Cancer Walk

Top Story: Curtis 1000 Forms Team for 2-Day Breast Cancer Walk

To demonstrate their passion for community involvement, eleven employees at Curtis 1000 in Duluth, Georgia, have made a personal commitment to support the breast cancer community by forming a company team and participating in the Atlanta 2-Day Breast Cancer Walk on September 24-25.

The Curtis Can-Cans team will walk 30 miles over the two days and has committed to achieving a fundraising goal of $11,000. All of the money raised will go directly to It’s The Journey, Inc., a non-profit organization providing education, support and services directly to the breast cancer community throughout Georgia.

“We feel that this event and our efforts will touch the lives of many around us and in some cases, friends and family directly,” shared Sharon Riehl, HR Representative. “We are proud to walk in honor of the brave people who have faced the breast cancer challenge.”

For more information about the Curtis 1000 2-Day Walk team or to support their efforts, visit

Curtis 1000 graphic designer Jamey Gentry volunteered his talents to create the team logo and was also asked by the It’s The Journey organization to donate his time and creative talent to help design the T-shirt to be handed out to participants after the walk.

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Posted by on July 28, 2011 in General Interest