Oregon Zoo Foundation: Oregon Zoo Frog Membership

Lewis Kennedy Associates


Category: Not-For-Profit
Country where program ran: United States
Date program started/ended: 2nd September - 15th January 2009

Product Description: The product is a 12-month Oregon Zoo membership. There are several membership levels, beginning with a $44 individual membership to a sponsorship level between $500-999. Membership not only admits the member to the Zoo, but offers a variety of other valuable benefits depending on the membership level.

Advertiser/Client Name: Oregon Zoo Foundation
Media Channels: Direct Mail


Marketplace Challenge:

Based on steady growth for at least seven years, the Oregon Zoo membership program is a mature one and now has the second largest non-profit membership in Oregon with over 40,000 members. The fall campaign has become less productive as a result. However, since the fall campaign generates revenue when visitorship is lower, various tests have been conducted to try to revive it: different designs, inserts, and gift offers. The Oregon Zoo is a service of Metro, the elected regional government, and receives much of its funding through the taxing authority of Metro. However, the additional support that the Zoo earns from membership is an important part of the Zoo's income. Some potential members consider that the taxes they pay should be enough for admission. Thus the exclusive benefits available only to members are critical as a value-added proposition. Due to Oregon weather, the timing of membership offers is crucial. The window of opportunity in the Fall is especially narrow, between Labor Day and the end of October. Although there is a big event (Zoo Lights) in December, this event by itself is not enough to encourage joining the Zoo in the Fall. The Zoo must also position itself against several indoor museums with visiting exhibits that are attractive to families, especially in rainy weather. As a regional mailer, another challenge the Zoo faces is finding responsive lists that meet the 5,000 name minimum that is standard with many list owners. Many well performing lists have significantly less than 5,000 names available in the SCFs that contain high numbers of active Zoo members. List minimums were sometimes waived, but not consistently. Additionally many lists can be tested, but usually a test consists of all the names available. Thus, there are often not new names available for the roll out.