Fundraising Publications Packages: National Cathedral School - Bronze Medal

Category 33: Fundraising Publications Packages
National Cathedral School, It all adds up. — 2006 Annual Fund

Contact: Ann Beckwith, Development Associate, Mount Saint Alban, Washington, DC, 20016; Phone: (202) 537-6673; e-mail:

Objectives and Creative Concept: With an ambitious goal of $1.4 million, we seized the opportunity to leverage facts, traditions, and statistics about the school to maximize the potential of the 2006 Annual Fund. The concept behind our Annual Fund campaign was to emphasize the rich and unique opportunities available to our students and the critical role that all gifts to the Annual Fund play in providing a robust educational experience for each girl. Using the overarching theme It all adds up., our direct mail program centered its three corresponding brochures on key numbers that represent important facts about National Cathedral School. Supporting figures were thoughtfully interwoven throughout the brochure language to enhance the primary number illustrated on the front covers. The direct quantitative use of numbers was successfully juxtaposed with colorful and lively photographs of our students at work and play to create an emotional yet educative piece. The fall and spring brochures included letters that were segmented and personalized for each of our constituent groups while the winter brochure went directly from a mail house. All brochures included a remittance envelope.

The design and color palette used in the three corresponding brochures are evocative of the school’s history, tradition, and location on the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral. Each brochure has multiple folds that, when unpeeled, create an elongated version of the central portion of a Jerusalem Cross, a key component of the school’s crest and an architectural feature located on the floor of the Great Crossing in the Nave of the Cathedral. The image of the cross itself is evident throughout each brochure as well as on the letterhead and envelopes to create a sense of visual unity throughout all pieces in the package. Shades of purple and gold, the school’s colors, provide the backdrop for contemporary and vintage photographs in each of the three thematically-centered brochures.

The first brochure, mailed in the fall, features the number “5,720,” signifying the school’s tuition gap of $5,720 per student. The photograph on the front of the brochure, students studying against the backdrop of the National Cathedral, is meant to strike a chord with a community that values the unique experience of attending school amidst the serenity of this historical landmark. The language of this brochure highlights the essentiality of contributions to the Annual Fund as a means of providing our students with an academically rigorous and character-enriching environment that has been the hallmark of an NCS education for more than a century. The inside pictures showcase our students reaping the benefits of the programs NCS is able to provide through its Annual Fund dollars.

The second brochure, mailed in the winter, features the number “72,” the number of years that members of the NCS family have gathered to share in the tradition of “Lessons and Carols,” a student performance held each December in the Cathedral and widely attended by members of the NCS community. The front of the brochure shows two girls walking through the snow toward Hearst Hall, the school’s original academic building that was built in 1900. The language of this brochure, coupled with pictures from past and present “Lessons and Carols,” highlights the deep sense of history embodying NCS and the strong ties of tradition that connect our alumnae and current students.

The final brochure in the series, mailed in the spring, features the number “10,863,” signifying the total number of constituents who make up the NCS community. The front of the brochure portrays recent graduates at Flag Day, a monumental end-of-year ceremony and treasured tradition at the school that celebrates the accomplishments of our students. The language of this brochure evokes a sense of pride in being part of a community that has nurtured bright young women for more than 100 years. The brochure’s inside pictures capture moments of joy from recent Flag Day and Commencement celebrations.

Staffing: The NCS advancement office contracted with Breckenridge Design Group in Washington, DC to provide creative guidance on thematic and logo development to design a unique and bold package of materials that would propel a successful year-long Annual Fund campaign. Breckenridge Design Group was led by Robin Breckenridge, president and creative director; and Katie Linnell, senior designer. Several members of the NCS advancement and communications staffs were involved in the conceptual and textual development of the pieces and strategic implementation of the annual giving campaign, including Ann Beckwith, development associate; Laura Bennett, director of annual giving; Lori Cwalina, director of advancement, and Megan Meringolo, assistant director of communications.

Quantity and Costs:

Item Quantity Total Cost Price Per Unit
Brochures (3 versions) 22,80 $12,477 $.55
Collateral Materials
Letterhead 16,500 $1,671 $.10
Carrier Envelope (fall and spring) 16,500 $1,671 $.10
Carrier Envelope (winter only) 7,500 $765 $.10
Remittance Envelopes 25,000 $2,090 $.08

Results: The vivid photographs capturing our students, coupled with the simple message that every gift enhances the extraordinary educational experience of our girls, resonated strongly with the NCS community. Not only did the It all adds up. brochures garner enthusiasm among our constituents, but they were instrumental in allowing us to surpass our $1.4 million goal by raising $1,420,535 for the 2006 Annual Fund. This represents a 13 percent increase in dollars and a 16 percent increase in donors over the previous fiscal year. Furthermore, in each of the months directly following the drop of each brochure, we saw significant increases in both donors and dollars compared to similar timeframes in fiscal year 2005. With our success in 2006, we continued the theme and brochure design for the current fiscal year with other numbers significant to NCS