Hancock Shaker Village

Hancock Shaker Village Doubled its Fall Appeal Result!

Like everyone, Hancock Shaker Village (HSV) was feeling the effects of the recession on member renewals and giving. Elissa Haskins-Vaughan, Director of Membership, wanted to improve the HSV 2010 fall Annual Fund results. She asked Five Maples to help them implement a personalized, multi-touch appeal. Previous years’ appeals were based on one letter, without variable ask amounts.

HSV annual fund appeal letter.

Note customized language.











The appeal of the letter focused on the mission. Former HSV Executive Director Ellen Spear, in the organization’s Case for Giving and the 50th Anniversary publication, had articulated the contemporary mission of Hancock Shaker Village: to preserve the experience and values of the Shakers and bring their profound impact to families and neighbors throughout the region. 

Five Maples wrote and designed a two-page personalized letter and response card describing the HSV mission of bringing the principled living of the Shakers to the lives of today’s young people. The letter featured:

  • color photo illustrating the mission by depicting children engaged in Shaker activities during a visit to HSV;
  • language that varied if the addressee was a prospect for new membership, a lapsed member, or a current member being asked for an additional gift;
  • P. S. encouraging membership level upgrades and promoting gift store saving to members.

A variety of choices offered on the front.












The response card included a call to action along with variable text. Five Maples created ask strings for the response card keyed to the prospect’s status and previous membership or gift levels. An opportunity to collect or correct e-mail addresses and phone numbers was provided. The letter and response card were mailed in early November.

For continuity, graphics and text from the letter were used on the HSV website donation page. The week before Thanksgiving, HSV released an e-mail blast referring to the letter and reinforcing the appeal to join or give an additional gift. In the first week of December, a follow-up postcard was mailed; in the P. S. of the postcard the same ask strings were used to tie back to the response card.

A reminder e-mail blast was sent in the last week of December.

THE RESULT? The amount given in response to the 2010 fall appeal more than doubled over 2009.

This postcard was a follow-up to the letter.

Postcard back with PS showing donation amount.










HSV Fall Appeal Schedule

  • October 4: Create messaging, segmentation, design, writing, ask strings
  • November 10: Letter mailed
  • November 22: Follow-up e-mail blast
  • November 30: Postcard mailed
  • December 4-8: Thank-a-thon/phone-a-thon
  • December 27: Follow-up e-mail blast