Customer Stories:

Texas Christian University’s “TCU Gives Day” Exceeds Goal with Direct Mail Campaign


The Office of Loyalty Giving at Texas Christian University builds a culture of faithful support with alumni, parents, employees, friends and students. They demonstrate and create awareness of the impact of philanthropic gifts on the University, providing constituents a variety of opportunities to support and engage with TCU.

The Challenge:

TCU needed an innovative approach to direct mail for their annual 24-hour giving campaign, TCU Gives Day. The primary goals for the 2017 campaign were to secure early gifts for TCU Gives Day, increase awareness and recognition for the event, and reach hard-to-reach contacts who had inadequate email addresses.

Why evertrue:

TCU utilized Pledgemine by EverTrue to implement a multi-channel strategy with a focus on a colorful, self-mailer. The self-mailer format was a departure from the standard direct mail approach used in previous years.

The results:

• Exceeded the goal of securing 1,000 gifts for TCU Gives Day.
• Generated 172 gifts, a significant number given the 1,000-gift target.
• The direct mail campaign served as a valuable reminder and promotional tool for the event with recipients often keeping the colorful self-mailer on their fridge as a reminder to participate in the giving day.
• TCU committed to continuing the direct mail campaign while remaining open to innovation and experimentation for future campaigns.

The Full Story

Texas Christian University (TCU) took an innovative approach to their annual TCU Gives Day campaign using Pledgemine by EverTrue. The campaign was spearheaded by Lucy Gage, the Direct Marketing Coordinator in the Office of Loyalty Giving at TCU. Lucy and her team utilized a direct mail approach to generate momentum for the event, resulting in impressive campaign results.

Campaign Overview 

TCU Gives Day is an annual 24-hour giving campaign, and the primary goal of the 2017 campaign was to secure early gifts and increase awareness and recognition for the event. To achieve this, Lucy’s team implemented a multi-channel strategy that included a colorful, self-mailer as the focal point of their direct mail campaign.

Campaign Objectives

  • Early Gift Acquisition: The primary objective was to secure early donations for TCU Gives Day to establish momentum for the event.
  • Increase Awareness: The campaign aimed to increase recognition for the annual giving day and serve as a reminder of the date and goals.
  • Communication to Hard-to-Reach Contacts: The self-mailer was targeted at individuals with inadequate email addresses, ensuring that even those missing out on email and social media communication were reached.

Campaign Format 

The self-mailer was a new format for TCU, differing from the standard direct mail approach used in the previous year. The colorful and visually striking self-mailer aimed to stand out in the recipient’s mailbox.

The Audience

The campaign targeted two specific segments:

  • Previous TCU Gives Day Donors: Individuals who had contributed to the event the previous year.
  • LYBUNTs (Last Year But Not This Year): Alumni who had donated in previous years but not in the current year.

The direct mail campaign was sent to approximately 5,000 individuals, representing a small fraction of TCU’s extensive alumni database, which boasts approximately 88,000 living alumni.


The campaign achieved its objectives and yielded remarkable results:

  • Exceeded Gift Goal: TCU surpassed its goal of securing 1,000 gifts for TCU Gives Day.
  • Response Rate: The campaign generated 172 gifts, which proved significant given the 1,000-gift target.


Insights and Conclusions

The TCU Gives Day direct mail campaign, despite its lower response rate, played a pivotal role in the university’s overall marketing strategy. 

Direct mail was recognized as a crucial component of the TCU Gives Day marketing effort. It served as an essential reminder and promotional tool for the event.

Even if recipients did not choose to make an early gift with the provided Business Reply Envelope (BRE), they often kept the colorful self-mailer on their fridge as a reminder to participate in the giving day.

In summary, Texas Christian University’s 2017 TCU Gives Day direct mail campaign demonstrated the effectiveness of using a colorful, self-mailer to generate momentum and increase participation in their annual giving day. Despite the lower response rate, the campaign contributed significantly to achieving their goal, proving that direct mail remains a valuable tool in their fundraising efforts. Lucy Gage and her team’s innovative approach to direct mail and their commitment to adaptability ensure that TCU will continue to refine and optimize their strategies for future campaigns.