On A Mission from God

The other night I was hanging out with my husband, procrastinating doing laundry, watching The Blues Brothers for the umpteenth time. It’s one of those perfect movies that you can see again and again, and laugh out loud at something new, every time.

I mean, what’s not to like?

Lovable crooks, Jake and Ellwood, Aretha at her fiercest, Cab Calloway in a white cutaway tailcoat, Carrie Fisher with a flamethrower…I could go on, but you get the idea.

Jake: How you gonna get the band back together, Mr. Hot-Rodder? Mr. Motor Head? The cops got your name, your address!

Ellwood: No, they don’t got my address. I falsified my renewal. Put down 1060 West Addison.

Jake: 1060 West Addison? That’s Wrigley Field.

Suddenly, I had a burst of insight: What about Elwood’s annual appeal solicitations? They were probably delivered straight to the Wrigley Field front office, processed through the mailroom and stamped RETURN TO SENDER. And in six weeks, when the follow-up mailing arrived, the process repeated itself.

Jake and Ellwood fall into the category we call “persuadable.” They were raised Catholic in an orphanage run by sisters, fell away from weekly Mass attendance, yet maintained a deep love for the Church – especially its outreach to the poor.

They even go so far as to reunite their former band, rehearse a show in a week, outrun a vengeful ex-fiancée, drive 106 miles to Chicago in the dark while wearing sunglasses, and lead a 92-car police chase down lower Wacker drive.

At Henning Communications, we want to help Catholic organizations reach the Jakes and the Ellwoods in their communities: the “unconnected” (not responsive to traditional communications) but “persuadable” (interested in your cause or mission). Many people have a deep connection to the good works of the Church, but may not be reachable through traditional direct mail methods.

Our appeal strategies are designed to speak in a targeted way to each audience: enhance giving among major donors, renew lapsed and long-lapsed donors and activate new donors.

Oh, and 1060 West Addison?

We run every appeal data list through the United States Postal Service’s National Change of Address (NCOA) program, the Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS), which improves carrier accuracy by using ZIP + 4 point coding and a five-digit route coding; we also employ a mail tracking system that will pinpoint delivery timing to the minute for every piece of mail.

We would have found Ellwood much faster.

(I think he would have made a gift, too!)