Case Study: ProPublica

Prior to the Fall 2018 Year-End Appeal, ProPublica focused the majority of their fundraising efforts on email and major gifts. Our challenge was to reach out to new and existing audiences and to determine if large-scale direct mail campaigns are a viable option for the organization’s fundraising plan.

The appeal presented ProPublica’s strong case for support as a non-profit newsroom that conducts investigative journalism in the public interest. Timely and compelling examples of ProPublica’s reporting were included to capture recipients’ attention, provide a sense of urgency, and propel the case for support. Three versions of the package were created, each tailored to a specific audience segment with a targeted offer to drive response.


The Fall 2018 Appeal proved that a direct mail campaign could bring in as many, if not more, gifts than an email-only appeal. The direct mail appeal received 40% more gifts than the March email-only appeal with 212% more gross income and a significantly higher average gift.