“We feel like the postcards are a really good size at 6 x 9. Postalytics does a great job of printing them and we don’t have to do it ourselves.”
Aisha Moss, Membership Manager, The High Museum of Art
The High Museum of Art, part of the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta, Georgia, is the largest art museum in the southeastern United States. They attract over 200,000 visitors annually and maintain a membership of over 30,000 households. The museum reflects the diversity of its communities and offers exhibitions and educational programs that engage visitors with the world of art and the creative process.
Like any museum, the High, as locals know it, depends on support from members to fund their operations, exhibits, and programs. Members receive unlimited free admission to daytime programming, discounts in the café and gift shop, and free parking.
They also enjoy member previews to see upcoming exhibitions before they are open to the public and invitations to take part in member-only events and programs.
Maintaining a large membership base comes with responsibilities. The museum’s marketing department handles promotions, but the small membership department works on new member acquisitions and sends critical communications to existing members. They use postal letters to thank every member for their annual membership support and donations. As a non-profit organization, the High sends members annual recaps of their contributions to use for tax reporting.
The museum uses various methods to communicate with members, with direct mail playing a predominant role. However, manually preparing the postal communications proved time-consuming and cumbersome.
We were doing a lot of manual work in-house, such as creating our own postcards
and printing labels,” says Membership Manager Aisha Moss.
The membership team runs monthly membership renewals and launches member acquisition campaigns about three times a year. Towards the end of each year, the team exerts significant effort to generate important tax letters.
The team was looking for a way to make themselves more efficient and produce well-timed member communications. They wanted to simplify the process and take some of the mailing responsibilities off the shoulders of the internal staff.
The High Museum turned to Postalytics to streamline its communication processes.
Annual tax letters and membership campaigns are now administered through Postalytics. This process improvement frees time for the membership team and assures the museum produces these critical mail pieces accurately and on time.
With direct mail automation, the museum membership staff can relinquish the arduous task of manually preparing thousands of mail pieces for gift membership campaigns.
The Postalytics platform allows the staff to concentrate on membership service and administration rather than menial clerical tasks.
Automation also allows The High to respond to members more quickly as the staff won’t have to set time aside for tedious letter composition, folding, inserting, addressing, and stamping.
Finally, the flexibility of the Postalytics plans allows organizations like the High Museum to adjust their plan to match their need, which varies according to the time of year.
Automated membership correspondence eliminated much of the membership staff workload as they attempted to meet deadlines for producing annual donation and membership contribution notices with manual labor.
At the end of the year, people want their tax letters,” Ms. Moss explained. “Using Postalytics made it
more timely for us. It is so simple to just upload a list. A few clicks and it’s done, and people are getting
everything on time.”
Email is another important channel for the High Museum of Art. Like lots of organizations attempting to communicate with their audiences during the pandemic, the museum was forced to rely heavily on email.
If the email addresses on file were no longer valid, The High could not connect with their members during this time. Postalytics now allows them to send personalized postcards to members for whom they have no valid email addresses, asking them to update their contact data. This enables the museum to establish a digital connection with the membership, opening the door to many more opportunities to strengthen member relationships with the institution.
We feel like the postcards are a really good size at 6 x 9. Postalytics does a great job of printing themAisha Moss
and we don’t have to do it ourselves.”
The High Museum of Art
Before implementing the direct mail platform, the only way to reconnect with members without email addresses was by phone.
This effort took many hours and yielded meager results. The postcards, in contrast, get attention when they arrive in the mail, prompting members to take action.
One standout benefit for the museum was the ability to personalize communications based on donor data. The museum offers several levels of membership, each with a different fee. With variable data through Postalytics, each of the annual tax letters, fundraising campaigns, or thank-you notes includes information relevant to the recipient, with no manual matching required.
Thank-you notes, which used to be processed monthly because they required a great deal of manual effort, are now produced weekly, more closely connecting the thank-you sentiment to the donation. Another advantage of acknowledging member gifts sooner is the ability to promote upcoming exhibits and events along with the thank you text.
Postalytics’ impact extends beyond efficiency gains. Ms. Moss emphasizes the importance of the platform’s automation features. Looking ahead, the museum aims to further enhance engagement and efficiency.
We’re in a phase of learning more about automation. In our next step with Postalytics we will integrate
our Active Campaign CRM. This will allow the system to trigger personal follow-up letters and tailor our
messages according to member preferences and interactions,” said Aisha.
The High is also collecting more data about its members and wants to use the information to further personalize and target communications. For instance, if a member had attended several creative aging events, the museum might approach them with an offer to raise their membership contribution to a level that allows them to attend such affairs without paying extra fees.
Along those lines, the museum would like to send follow-up letters as part of its annual fundraising campaign. Leveraging automation, they could generate a second letter sent to members who did not respond to the first attempt. This hasn’t been done in the past because it required a great deal of effort and a short turnaround time. The museum may automate this process and increase donations by integrating Postalytics with the CRM and sending multiple appeals.
Through its investment in Postalytics, the High Museum of Art is optimizing its direct mail museum outreach through membership communication, improving efficiency, and increasing personalization and engagement opportunities. With an eye on the future, the museum is poised to build on its success. They intend to further automate and expand their use of direct mail as a key component of their membership strategy.