Alumni needed to reconnect with members


An alumni board for a chapter of a fraternal organization needed to reconnect with their membership before starting a major renovation project.  Changes to chapter houses were being mandated by the University and without the support and resources provided by alumni the local chapter would find it difficult to stay viable.  Attempts to manage their membership list and communications using volunteers had failed.


We obtained an alumni list from the University.  USPS CASS (address standardization) and NCOA (National Change of Address) processing was performed to standardize and update the list.

It was decided that the best way to initially connect with all alumni would be to use a direct mail piece, as fewer than 50% of the University records had email addresses.  With the ages of alumni ranging from 22 to 94, it was also felt that older alumni would respond better to direct mail than an email.

The first mailing needed to have these primary components

  • A letter was needed from the board president to "catch people up" on happenings at the fraternity and provide an overview of future plans.
  • A flyer was needed to provide drawings of proposed changes to the physical structure so alumni could see the renovation as envisioned by the board.
  • A personal data sheet containing current contact information for the alum was needed.  It would ask them to update their information for use in future communications.
  • Multiple reply mechanisms were needed so alumni could respond using their preferred technology.
  • An email follow-up was needed to increase response rates and leverage the value of the direct mail piece.

Production of the mail package

  • The President's letter was laid out and printed by Butler Data Solutions.
  • The flyer was designed by a board member.  We sent his base file to a graphic designer who added a professional’s touch. 
  • The flyer was sent to a commercial printer to achieve the most cost effective printing.
  • The personal data sheet with alum specific information was designed and printed by Butler Data Solutions.  It included three personalized, secure reply mechanisms. 
  • Instructions for using a provided reply envelope.
  • A Personalized URL linked to a secure personalized landing page for updating.
  • A QR Code also linked to the secure personalized landing page.

An email follow-up was broadcast after the majority of the direct mail pieces were tracked as being delivered by the USPS.  The email referenced the direct mail piece and provided a link to the alum's secure personalized landing page for updating.

All of the reply contact information was collected by Butler Data Solutions.  The mailing was set up so that the USPS provided change of address and non-delivery information through their Address Correction Services.  The Fraternity's database was updated from the information provided by alumni, the email service provider, and the USPS.


Responses by the Numbers

  • Unique Responses 21.7%
    • 52.3% used the Personalized URL 
    • 38.9% used the Reply Envelope (10% of these were millennials)
    • 8.8% used the QR Code
  • 68.0% of respondents checked a box to donate or volunteer
  • 42.8% of the emails were opened
  • 2.8% of respondents added an unsolicited check in the reply envelope


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