USCJ: Direct Mail Appeal With Reusable Tote Bag


USCJ is the largest network of Conservative Jews, serving as a resource for synagogues across the country and engaging Jews of all ages through unique educational programming.

USCJ’s largest fundraising campaign of the year is their annual calendar, which is something donors love and look forward to each year. In their Fiscal Year 2021 (July 2020 – June 2021), this direct mail appeal generated over half of all fundraising revenue.

Though it was great to have donors respond so well, we wanted to diversify USCJ’s revenue, so they were not as reliant on the calendar. Our challenge was to create a compelling new direct mail appeal that would bring in additional revenues and encourage donors to give multiple times per year.


We knew we would need a premium to generate the kind of strong response we wanted. However it had to tie into USCJ’s mission and work, and be something donors found useful rather than wasteful.

We landed on a reusable tote bag, one that was personalized with a Tree of Life graphic and featured USCJ’s logo. Conservative Judaism teaches and values the commandment of Bal Taschit – do not destroy or waste – and this environmentally conscious gift was a great representation of that.

The accompanying message thanked donors, and asked them to share a special gift to help USCJ continue programming that would help more people live and uphold these Jewish values in their day-to-day lives.


This direct mail appeal was exactly what USCJ’s program needed, generated a 14% response rate, which is excellent, and a return on investment of 151%. This direct mail appeal diversified USCJ’s revenue, provided an additional annual mailing that donors can look forward to, and did so without hurting revenue for the calendar appeal that mailed later that year! In fact, we saw multi-giving increase with the introduction of this appeal, and 65% of donors for the year gave to both the Tote Bag and the Calendar appeals.

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