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WBHM, 90.3 FM is a news and talk public radio station serving the north central Alabama area. Like many non-profit organizations, WBHM depends on membership support to fulfill the station’s mission. Each year the station performs an acquisition campaign that involves sending direct mail pieces to approximately 11,000 prospective members.
“Since we are part of a major university, it seemed logical to just ask the university’s new mail services department for help with the campaign,” remembers Leslie Hoggatt, Membership Manager at WBHM. “I sent them my list for clean up and when I got it back I noticed that quite a few of the names in the list were current members – and I definitely didn’t want existing members to get an acquisition letter. At that point I knew I needed to find a vendor who could help us with the merge/purge and suppression processes.”
WBHM is a member of DEI, a fundraising and marketing organization that serves over 270 member public radio stations, so Leslie asked the staff there about resources for this type of service. “DEI recommended Lorton Data right away,” Leslie said. “A contact at DEI mentioned that Lorton Data had been working with them for over 8 years and knew that they could help me out.” Throughout its history, Lorton Data has provided service to more than 140 public broadcasting customers.
“That was my first year at WBHM. I had never dealt with list management before, so I wasn’t exactly sure what I needed to do,” recounts Leslie. “I spoke with Mary Calahan at Lorton Data and she answered all of my questions, even the most basic! She stepped me through the whole process and I learned so much.”
Mary ran the original list of close to 16,000 records through NCOALink® to make sure that the addresses were up-to-date and conformed to the USPS requirements for postal discounts. She then processed it through merge/purge and suppression against the station’s membership list. After processing, the list was fine-tuned to about 11,000 records. Getting the list ready for mailing was just part of the process. Since the campaign was going to be included as part of the DEI co-op mailing program, it needed to be ready to go on a specified date. “Lorton Data was a lifesaver,” recalls Leslie. “I had so little time to get the whole thing completed and ready for DEI. Mary got it done in the time needed.”
“I could tell by the urgency in her voice that this needed to be done immediately,” recalls Mary. “It really was business as usual for us – we turn jobs around quickly all the time. Leslie was able to use the secure file transfer feature on our website to get the file to us right away, and that helped things move quite smoothly.”
“After that first time through the process,” says Leslie, “the next time was not only easy, it was completed early!”