What can fix a broken promise? One clear message said by thousands.

“We needed to mobilize our membership into action and send a message to the politicians and decision makers. Working with TRICO Evolution, we were able to achieve our goals and more. What began as a direct mail campaign evolved into a much more strategic and lobbying effort that delivered results as well as invaluable information to help us better serve and grow our membership.”
Rosemary Pitfield – Director, Advocacy and Communications


The Problem The National Association of Federal Retirees (NAFR) is a not-for-profit association dedicated to protecting the benefits and promoting the interests of federal retirees. In the summer of 2013, the NAFR had a big problem. The Government of Canada was threatening to break its promise to not make any changes to the Public Service Health Care Plan and increase health insurance premiums paid by retired public servants. NAFR knew it had to react quickly. It adopted an uncharacteristically “assertive” approach. The organization developed a campaign to lobby its members urging them get involved and hopefully influence the decision makers to change their mind. This was the first time the NAFR had taken such direct action. And it was the first time NAFR had developed and deployed a multi-channel campaign to communicate this important issue to its members.


The Solution NAFR brought the TRICO Evolution team on board to develop the multi-channel strategy and deploy on each of the campaign’s elements. The NAFR membership was broken down into single or dual-member households. The campaign elements included 69,167 packages mailed to single-member households and 52,612 dual-member households. Packages were delivered in English or French languages, depending on the preference of the member.

Each campaign package mailed within Canada consisted of:

  • A single cover letter
  • Personalized URLs (one PURL for single member households, two PURLs for dual-member households)
  • Personalized, pre-populated letter addressed to the NAFR member’s local Member of Parliament
  • A duplicate of the MP letter for the President of the Treasury Board
  • Two, pre-addressed reply envelopes

A separate content package was specifically developed for NAFR members living outside of Canada

What began as a straightforward direct mail piece evolved into a highly leveraged, multi-channel strategy. Working with TRICO Evolution strategists, NAFR grew the campaign into more than just a lobbying effort. The PURL was introduced to enable NAFR to conduct a brief but effective survey of its members to fill in missing information in its database as well as collect information on how to serve its membership better.

On the advice of TRICO Evolution, NAFR included a “refer a friend” component to the campaign. Referred friends received a campaign letter kit. Those who made the effort to refer friends are now a qualified group of potential member “ambassadors” for NAFR for engage in future activities and campaigns.

TRICO Evolution was able to include several variable content elements in the letters to MPs such as the number of NAFR members that lived in each MP’s riding. This was important in order to make the MPs, especially those who might have narrowly won their ridings, aware of the degree to which NAFR members could affect the outcome of future elections.

On the recommendation of TRICO Evolution, the reply envelopes (with the exception of members who lived out of country) were all addressed to MPs’ House of Commons addresses and so did not require postage if mailed within Canada. This ended up saving the NAFR over $20,000 in postage fees.

The TRICO Evolution team implemented every aspect of this campaign: household based member segmentation, member counts by federal riding, personalized landing pages and surveys, online refer a friend functionality, and direct mail services.


The Success From the get go, the NAFR campaign blew the lid off traditional response rates. Over 10 percent of those who received the package acted on the PURL, 16.5 percent of those who acted referred a friend, and of the referrals, over 10 percent of those referred completed the process and generated additional letters.


12 Week Landing Report

Report Generated: Tuesday, October 01, 2013 3:01 AM
Website (non-unique) visit count over time.
Multiple page visits in a single session are counted as a single visit.


Total Event Count: 19,639


Time Non-Unique Landing Count Percent
Jul 14 – Jul 20 0 0.00%
Jul 21 – Jul 27 0 0.00%
Jul 28 – Aug 03 0 0.00%
Aug 04 – Aug 10 0 0.00%
Aug 11 – Aug 17 0 0.00%
Aug 18 – Aug 24 736 3.75%
Aug 25 – Aug 31 7,408 37.72%
Sep 01 – Sep 07 6,075 30.93%
Sep 08 – Sep 14 3,334 16.98%
Sep 15 – Sep 21 1,319 6.72%
Sep 22 – Sep 28 636 3.24%
Sep 29 – Oct 05 131 0.67%


The campaign was so successful that after a month of launching, news of the campaign landed on page two of the September 16, 2013 edition of Ottawa’s daily newspaper, the Ottawa Citizen. The headline read: Federal Retirees Ready to Challenge Cuts to Benefits: campaign takes aim at Clement proposal.

The ROI of the “refer a friend” element was particularly lucrative as an acquisition strategy. Of the 2,870 referrals made after a month of launching the campaign, 301 completed the full campaign process – a list of over 300 potential new members.

The NAFR achieved several important objectives – all within a very tightframe.

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