One of the advantages of direct mail is that you can land something absolutely stunning right into someone’s hands, tailored to their interests. You can write something meaningful – informative, heartwarming, or heartbreaking (maybe all three) – that speaks to that person, and, as an option, you can enclose a premium that they will want to keep or use. And you can give them the opportunity of sitting with your piece on the sofa, at their desk, or dining room table, away from the incessant demands of their computer or phones, if they so wish.
Contrary to the assertions of some digitally-oriented naysayers, direct mail is alive and well, but its success depends on at least two things – one, know the audience you need to reach to insure a positive response, and two, send an attention-getting package that matches up with the recipients’ interests.
Featured in this post are the components of a fundraising package I created (wrote and designed from start to finish) for the Associated Humane Societies, a humane society I’ve been working with for 30+ years. They are a hard-working organization dedicated to taking in the animals that society has discarded and giving them a brand new, loving future. I’d say their donor base falls in between the hard left humane organizations which don’t hesitate to show you the most brutal images of animal cruelty and the soft right which focuses more on cute puppies and kittens. So the pieces I work on with them have to be honest, but not so raw that people want to throw the piece away without really looking at it. If you don’t get the recipient to open the envelope, you’ve lost the donation. This particular package is mailed to their regular donor list, but with minor adjustments, could be easily used in a cold mailing.
There are 5 components: a 4-color, 5″x 7″ card with photos and an appeal letter written up inside which tells the story of these two animals, an outer envelope, a BRE, a response document, and a premium. We’ve done labels successfully in the past as our premium, but people are on label overload nowadays, so we featured, for the second year in a row, a flower seed packet. The custom designed packet (below) is glue-tipped to the back of the card so it shows through a window on the back of the outer envelope.
The theme of the piece is “UNWANTED”, and tells the story of a senior dog, left horribly neglected and sick, then abandoned on the street, and a 5 month-old kitten, put out on the fire escape in the dead of winter as punishment by an angry owner. The outer envelope and card front show Emily (the dog) and Christopher (the kitten) as they looked when they arrived at the humane society. The interior of the card (above) details what the humane society did for these two, how they took care of all their medical needs, and best of all, found them loving homes. The back of the card shows the dog’s happy adoption day photo. In addition, the recipient received a packet of Thumbelina Zinnia seeds, encouraging the donor to enjoy planting and growing them as they can help the organization grow and help more animals like these. The response document and BRE, continue the theme of these two animals and images of the zinnias.
This is just one of an endless variety of possibilities and formats in fundraising campaigns. These donors seem to really like this format, as it’s been used with great success, but in reality, they are responding to the outstanding work of the organization, and the presentation that moved them – written from a heartfelt perspective and in a visually attractive package. (I’ll take the credit for that part.) Let me also mention that I work with a wonderful printing outfit, the Ballantine Company, who takes the utmost care in every aspect of the package’s printing and mailing.
Can I bring my talents to your organization and help you make a difference? I’d be happy to, so feel free to contact me with any questions.
p.s. And just to add a little happy ending for you graphics readers, here is a photo of that sweet senior dog, Emily, after the humane society restored her to the best health she had probably known in years.