Russell Sage Rallies Support for Students Impacted by COVID-19 with Direct Mail Campaign


  • Generate fundraising support for financial aid with a perforated pledge card sent to alumni and past donors.
  • Highlight the Sage Strong fund, an emergency fund to help provide Sage students the resources they need in the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Reconnect with the Russell Sage community with a personalized, informational letter on the ways the educational landscape has shifted in the wake of a global pandemic
  • Celebrate the Class of 2020 virtually by driving traffic to a landing page honoring the graduates


  • >$10,000 in donations generated by the campaign
  • 1,000+ personalized letters sent to Russell Sage donors/alumni
  • 10X Return on Investment



Campaigns Details

Russell Sage College is a co-educational college with a long-standing commitment to supporting and empowering students both personally and professionally. So when the COVID-19 pandemic placed unforeseen financial burdens on many students and their families, Sage decided to take action.

To help alleviate financial stress caused by the pandemic, Russell Sage College started by launching their #SageStrong fundraiser in March of 2020. The fundraiser provides emergency assistance to help provide Sage students the resources they need in the COVID-19 crisis such as travel expenses (airfare and gas), help with rent, technology needs for distance learning, and food insecurity.

Teaming up with The Mailworks, they created a targeted direct mail campaign in June 2020 to drive even more donations for this fundraiser. The campaign served the additional purpose of helping to highlight one of Sage’s newfound needs: support for financial aid programs.

The campaign opted to target alumni and past donors across the country, using a personalized legal letter mailer for the direct mail product. In order to facilitate the primary goal of fundraising, Russell Sage College included a perforated pledge card attached to the letter mailer.

By leveraging the power of direct mail, Russell Sage College received an outpouring of support from their community. In total, the direct mail campaign reached over a thousand people and generated thousands of dollars in donations from dozens of donors.

In a time of great uncertainty, Russell Sage College used direct mail as a tool to generate financial support for students. Additionally, the campaign helped to elevate the college in the hearts and minds of alumni, donors and students.

Key Campaign Elements

  • Clear call-to-action to donate by leveraging an interactive tear-off format
  • Targeted direct mail list to include alumni, past donors and supporters of Russell Sage



“In these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever for us to support our students and community. Working with The Mailworks allowed us to reach our audience with a personalized, targeted direct mail campaign. The resulting fundraising has helped many students in need.”

– Kathleen Danico, Senior Director of Annual Giving at Russell Sage College