Habitat for Humanity

Americus, GA-based Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that helps build houses for U.S. families, used to sell a limited assortment of merchandise, such as logoed T-shirts, keychains, and books, through its donor newsletter. Though the response was less than 0.25%, the organization decided to market the products more aggressively via catalog.

The first Habitat for Humanity catalog mailed to 200,000 households in February. Only 47,000 names were from the house file; the rest came from lists, such as that of the National Wildlife Federation catalog, from co-op database Abacus.

The strategy paid off. The catalog’s response rate from house customers shot up to 5.4%, and the overall response rate was 2.8%, which exceeded the company’s plan of 2%. The average order size of $45 falls within the company’s goal of $40-$50.

The Habitat for Humanity catalog will mail three times a year to the target audience of socially active individuals. Director of product development Dan Holloway says he will add six pages to the holiday book. He also predicts greater response once the Website is commerce-enabled this fall.

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