National WWI Museum and Memorial

The National World War I Museum & Memorial, located in Kansas City, Missouri, is an institution dedicated to honoring the heroes of the First World War, and keeping their stories alive. The November 2020 Annual Fund was designed with a timely focus on healthcare heroes, past and present, drawing parallels between those who worked on the frontlines of WWI and the Spanish Flu pandemic and those working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The appeal also promoted the reasons to visit the newly reopened museum, including special exhibitions on view.  

The campaign used an economical #10 package with extensive personalization, centered on honoring WWI heroes, especially the women, nurses, healthcare workers, and others who are often overlooked. The package’s focus on women’s service in WWI was particularly impactful, as this service directly helped ensure the passage of the 19th amendment, granting women the right to vote

The first drop was mailed to strategically arrive in homes on or near Veteran’s Day 2020, with a follow-up mailed a few weeks later as a reminder to recipients to give a gift. To encourage higher-level giving, tiered special offers were included in the appeal. These included receiving a thank you gift, invitations to exclusive events, and special recognition on the Museum’s donor wall with a gift of $1,000 or more. These offers were personalized on the reply form based on the customized ask string.


The campaign achieved outstanding results, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a 21% higher response rate and 76% higher net revenue than projected. Overall ROI for the campaign was a strong $2.32.


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.