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How This Non-Profit Increased Online Donations 170% With Direct Mail | The Mailworks
Case Study

How This Non-Profit Increased Online Donations 170% With Direct Mail


“Fundraising for nonprofits is crucial, which is why we always choose direct mail,” says Scott Hayden, Executive Director of Adirondack Folk School. “No other type of marketing gives us the return on investment that direct mail does, and The Mailworks is a big part of that equation. Their online store makes the entire process seamless, and their quality and service is second to none.”



  • Drive donations and financial support for Adirondack Folk School amid a year of unprecedented challenges.
  • Highlight Adirondack Folk School’s mission of preserving crafts and culture in the Adirondacks. 
  • Showcase the artwork produced by students under Adirondack Folk School’s tutelage. 
  • Increase online donations by driving traffic to the Adirondack Folk School website as an alternative donation method.


  • 170% increase in online donations
  • 133% increase in donation response rate
  • 2X increase in annual donations
  • 5,000+ letters sent



Adirondack Folk School (AFS) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, unique for its dedication to teaching the arts, crafts, and cultural heritage of the Adirondack region. In order to fund the year-round classes offered at their Lake Luzerne location, AFS relies heavily on donations. 

To stage a comeback from hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, AFS decided to create a direct mail campaign. The campaign’s main goal was to drive financial donations by creating a heartfelt letter from AFS leadership explaining the importance of supporting the arts during a year of unprecedented challenges. 

AFS worked with The Mailworks to select a direct mail format that would deliver their message cost effectively and quickly. After consulting with a client advisor, they opted to use a legal letter mailer for their campaign and ordered using The Mailworks online store. The resulting campaign was sent to over 5,000 of AFS’s biggest donors and supporters.

The success of this targeted appeal relied heavily on making donations easy. To do this, the campaign included a pledge card as well as a link to promote online donations. As a result, AFS received a 108% increase in donation response rate from the previous year. They also saw a spike in online donations.

Additionally, The Mailworks was able to use AFS’s nonprofit status to secure them a lower postage rate. This lowered AFS’s postage price per piece approximately 75% from the previous year.

Thanks to Adirondack Folk School’s innovative use of direct mail, support for the arts in New York State’s historic Adirondack Region has never been stronger.



  • Engaging appeal legal letter mailer featuring a donation pledge card
  • Targeted direct mail list to reach current and past donors
  • Online campaign quoting, ordering and management through
Russell Sage Rallies Support for Students Impacted by COVID-19 with Direct Mail Campaign
Case Study

Russell Sage Rallies Support for Students Impacted by COVID-19 with Direct Mail Campaign


  • Generate fundraising support for financial aid with a perforated pledge card sent to alumni and past donors. 
  • Highlight the Sage Strong fund, an emergency fund to help provide Sage students the resources they need in the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Reconnect with the Russell Sage community with a personalized, informational letter on the ways the educational landscape has shifted in the wake of a global pandemic
  • Celebrate the Class of 2020 virtually by driving traffic to a landing page honoring the graduates


  • >$10,000 in donations generated by the campaign
  • 1,000+ personalized letters sent to Russell Sage donors/alumni
  • 10X Return on Investment


Russell Sage College is a co-educational college with a long-standing commitment to supporting and empowering students both personally and professionally. So when the COVID-19 pandemic placed unforeseen financial burdens on many students and their families, Sage decided to take action.

To help alleviate financial stress caused by the pandemic, Russell Sage College started by launching their #SageStrong fundraiser in March of 2020. The fundraiser provides emergency assistance to help provide Sage students the resources they need in the COVID-19 crisis such as travel expenses (airfare and gas), help with rent, technology needs for distance learning, and food insecurity. 

Teaming up with The Mailworks, they created a targeted direct mail campaign in June 2020 to drive even more donations for this fundraiser. The campaign served the additional purpose of helping to highlight one of Sage’s newfound needs: support for financial aid programs.

The campaign opted to target alumni and past donors across the country, using a personalized legal letter mailer for the direct mail product. In order to facilitate the primary goal of fundraising, Russell Sage College included a perforated pledge card attached to the letter mailer. 

By leveraging the power of direct mail, Russell Sage College received an outpouring of support from their community. In total, the direct mail campaign reached over a thousand people and generated thousands of dollars in donations from dozens of donors.

In a time of great uncertainty, Russell Sage College used direct mail as a tool to generate financial support for students. Additionally, the campaign helped to elevate the college in the hearts and minds of alumni, donors and students.


  • Clear call-to-action to donate by leveraging an interactive tear-off format
  • Targeted direct mail list to include alumni, past donors and supporters of Russell Sage



“In these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever for us to support our students and community. Working with The Mailworks allowed us to reach our audience with a personalized, targeted direct mail campaign. The resulting fundraising has helped many students in need.”

– Kathleen Danico, Senior Director of Annual Giving at Russell Sage College