Case Study: That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles

with Preserve Arkansas

Written by Paul Strack
[email protected]

The ongoing pandemic has greatly altered how “in person” events now take place. Trade shows, conferences and educational events have been hit hard. So many events were completely lost or cancelled during 2020, while others were somewhat salvaged by on-line, virtual substitutes. Hit even harder by these challenges may have been the non-profit sector. A significant portion of most non-profits’ annual revenue often depends on an in-person events. Preserve Arkansas was no exception.

Preserve Arkansas is the only statewide nonprofit organization focused on preserving Arkansas’s architectural and cultural resources. Its mission is to build stronger communities by reconnecting Arkansans to our heritage and empowering people to save and rehabilitate historic places. In addition to memberships and patron contributions, one of its annual fundraisers is The Arkansas Preservation Awards. This event recognizes achievements in historic preseveration.

In the entertainment world, despite most obstacles, the show must go on. The same was true for this year’s Arkansas Preservation Awards. Commitment from sponsors had been received; the award winners had been selected, and the date had been set. Even though this event was scheduled 10 months into the pandemic, cancellation was not an option. Like so many non-profits, Preserve Arkansas made the necessary adjustment to host the event online. But the challenge still remained:  how would Rachel Patton, Executive Director, still attract enough interest to encourage patrons to ‘attend’ an event that they could not attend in person?

Having been a long-time believer in the benefits of lumpy mail, we recommended a program that we call Chunky Mail. Chocolate Chunk to be exact. Chunky mail is an incredibly unique direct mail piece that has a “wow” factor for the recipient. And on top of that, it’s quite…tasteful. Rachel brainstormed with us a bit, and we decided that to gain interest, and more importantly raise dough for their event, we would use dough – cookie dough.  But it would be appropriately baked. And mailed in tubes printed in full color, full of chocolate chip cookies. For the tube design, we incorporated photos of this year’s award-winning projects. These colorful tubes of tasty treats were then mailed directly to sponsors and ticketholders of the event.

As Rachel described the mailer,

“In addition to the delicious cookies, the tube packaging was unique. CustomXM created an eye-catching and creative design that everyone enjoyed.”

In addition to capturing the recipients’ attention, Preserve Arkansas wanted to provide a tangible benefit to the virtual event, while adding an ingredient of fun. The Chunky Mail progress was a success on all points.  Long-time supporters and first-time attendees provided positive interaction and feedback during and after this successful virtual event.

And chunky mail cookies added to the recipe for sweet success.