University of Notre Dame – "Gear Up" Fall Sock Appeal

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Title"Gear Up" Fall Sock Appeal
InstitutionUniversity of Notre Dame
Submitted ByBrandon Tabor
Director, Operations and Technology, Annual Giving
CategoryDirect Mail Appeals
Institution TypeCollege / University
What fiscal year did this effort occur?2018

Notre Dame's first fiscal year mailing was sent to our entire population in July 2018. We offered exclusive Notre Dame socks as an incentive for benefactors who typically give in the fall to renew their gift earlier and pull revenue forward. There was a deadline of September 30 for the sock offer.

What makes this unique

The timing of this mailing coincided with the enthusiasm and excitement around a new season of Notre Dame Football, which we alluded to with the "Gear Up!" messaging. It also focused on financial aid and the student experience, both made possible by gifts from the Notre Dame family.

Primary Goal

Notre Dame's primary goal was to renew gifts in our annual fund and Giving Societies spaces. It was the first touch point in our solicitation plan for FY19. It gave donors the chance to their renew their Giving Society membership, or make a smaller annual gift ($55 or more) to receive the socks.


The mailing performed most successfully in the Giving Society renewal space, particularly within our Sorin Society. These are donors who give $1,500 - $24,999 annually to our unrestricted space. To date, we've seen a nearly 10% increase in our renewal rate YOY, and saw many donors giving earlier in the year than they normally would, or making an additional gift in order to receive the socks.