Tag Archives: Alumni

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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