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Horace Mann School
Annual Fund 2014-2015

Services Used: Strategy, Design, Direct Mail

Client Situation

Horace Mann historically has had great success with their fundraising initiatives. Realizing their potential, they sought out a plan to surpass the level of dollars being raised. At the time, they were heavily focused on the onset of appeal season and interested in a strategy that would give momentum to the start of their annual fund drive.


Being as our approach begins with creating relevancy through mission-driven communication and starting with why, a unified strategy would be imperative from the outset. After several planning sessions, we decided that a redesign of their campaign collateral and a change in message tone would do the trick. Despite their consistent fundraising success, we knew that a major transformation would help Horace Mann capture prospects and excite existing donors.


Because this campaign was executed solely through direct mail, the bulk of the work dealt with identifying ways to hyper-personalize communication and simplify the giving process. The visual identity was modified to be more contemporary, colorful, and informative. The final product included 9 different versions of personalized letters, 7 versions of personalized reply cards, and 3 versions of booklets detailing Horace Mann’s Annual Fund and communicating beyond the ask. Each piece was versioned by the by past giving history and the constituency of the recipient (parents, grandparents, alumni, or combinations within) allowing for tailored messages that spoke specifically to who they were as a current, potential, or even lapsed donor. Response cards were filled out upon receipt which streamlined giving. Design and production were handled in-house.


Without changing anything about their process except their kickoff appeal, Horace Mann raised an additional $500,000 in unrestricted dollars to their Annual Fund.  The new, refreshed messaging and collateral helped their donors pay more attention to the appeal and understand how their donation would impact the things they care about.

additional unrestricted dollars raised