Tag Archives: PURL

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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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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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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PURL raised an 8% response rate!!

Admissions Multi-Channel Case Study:

Noble and Greenough School – Dedham, MA

The Situation

Noble and Greenough School, also called Nobles, is a private, co-educational, nonsectarian day and boarding school for students in grades seven through twelve, located in Dedham, Massachusetts. Most students at the school come from Massachusetts and its neighboring states. In putting together this campaign, Nobles wanted to reach out to a more defined prospective family for enrollment and create a better and more accurate prospect database. This database would be used to invite prospective students and families to visit a Nobles Open House.


Before sending out any kind of mailing, Nobles wanted to work on securing the most accurate and relevant prospect information possible. To do this, Nobles provided us with their Camp List, Existing Student and Parent information, in an Excel spreadsheet. Our data partner added additional demographic information to the original Nobles data. Demographic information added included adult age ranges, presence of children by age, home market value, lifestyles, direct mail responder, ethnic and religious background, and parent occupation. With this new information, Nobles was able to purchase a new mailing list of prospects in specific ZIP codes that were more likely to send children to the school.

Once the new lists were obtained, a multi-channel campaign was created using images from around campus. The campaign invited prospective students and their families to “Get to know Nobles.” A postcard with a PURL was sent to prospective students inviting them to attend an Open House to learn more about the school. The PURL prompted the recipient to fill out an RSVP form for the Open House. A follow-up postcard with another PURL was sent to all those who did not respond to the first mailing. Follow-up and reminder emails were also sent to those attending the Open House and also to those who had not yet responded to the original postcards. Those who had still not responded to the Open House invitation were reminded that “there was still time to RSVP.”


Nobles saw an 8% response rate with this campaign and hosted one of its biggest and most attended Open Houses ever. Very pleased with the results of this campaign, Nobles is likely to repeat something similar this summer for their Fall Open House.

Customer Feedback

Jennifer Hines, Dean of Enrollment Management says, “We were very pleased with the results of the PURL project that we did with Curtis 1000 last year. It was great to have a team to work with that was very responsive to our needs throughout the course of the project. Whenever we had a question, an answer was forthcoming. That kind of attention cannot be underestimated!”

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Posted by on July 22, 2011 in Multi-Channel Case Study


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