Direct Mail

From the Hart
October 1, 2005

It’s safe to say Benjamin Hart is a fan of direct mail. In his book, “Fund Your Cause With Direct Mail: Secrets of Successful Direct Mail Fundraising,” Hart takes a comprehensive look at the benefits of direct mail and how they can be harnessed to capture more funding for nonprofit organizations, tracing everything from the role direct mail had in the American Revolution and in strengthening democracy, to the importance it plays in conjunction with the Internet.

Lives in the Balance
October 1, 2005

Debra Neuman is on intimate terms with the tsunami that devastated southern Asia in December 2004. Just as you would never refer to a friend as “the Bill” or “the Mary,” she calls the killer storm simply “tsunami” — no preceding article — as though the word should be spelled with a capital T.

"Mommy, Will You Tell Me a Story?"
October 1, 2005

And Mommy says: “OK, honey. You see, your father and I work very hard to make a nice home for you. We shop for specials at the grocery store, and we’re putting away money for your education, and … “

Gold Awards: And the Winners Are ...
September 1, 2005

What a grand time. FundRaising Success ventured into the tricky awards arena for the first time this year. And even though it was all new to us, it was a terrific experience from start to finish. We had a better-than-expected showing — 33 packages in all, submitted by 10 agencies and two organizations — a small but enthusiastic group of judges and a lot of fun.

A Good Deed for the Boy Scouts
September 1, 2005

My fundraising package for the Los Angeles Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America doesn’t have a lot of copy. There’s no informative four-page letter, no glossy brochure, no carefully crafted lift note highlighting BSA’s programs and good works.

Everyone knows the Boy Scouts. If you love them, you probably contribute. If not, this mailing reminds you what Scouting is all about.

Horror to Hope
September 1, 2005

The pumps are working again, belching putrid water out of New Orleans and back into Lake Ponchatrain. There was even a parade on Bourbon Street. But at this writing, America was still falling asleep to nightly images of bloated corpses, starving animals, armed patrols floating on boats through rivers that once were the streets of this country’s most joyous and charmingly decadent town, and the weary, misguided people who wouldn’t leave it.

DOROT's Objective: Think Like the Donor
July 1, 2005

For nonprofit mailers, knowing what your donors want is paramount. That’s why DOROT, a New York City-based charity providing Kosher meals to homebound Jewish elders in the tri-state area, tested, tested and tested some more to pinpoint how best to attract new contributors.

Its current No. 10 control package is simple in design and approach, and contains just three elements: a four-page letter, donor form and BRE. For all the flashy, four-color brochures and glossy inserts available, it often is the plain, white printed letter and envelope that carry the most impact — and cost the least — in the mail stream.

Don’t be Afraid of Making a Promise
June 24, 2005

Folks who do direct mail fundraising for nonprofit organizations can -- and should -- take a lesson or two from commercial copywriters. Among them is the use of the guarantee. Practically every piece of commercial direct mail carries some kind of guarantee, yet what can a nonprofit letter offer? If the donor doesn’t like what we do with his money, we’ll refund every penny? Hardly. But you can adapt the guarantee to offer another kind of protection that reassures the donor his money is put to good use. One way is to tell how each dollar will be spent -- what

The Brochure Legend Lives On
June 1, 2005

Ever wonder who started the Legend of the Brochure, also known as the weak little cousin in a direct-mail package?

I just read a version in a recent edition of John Forde’s newsletter, Copywriter’s Roundtable. He told the legend under the title of “Ted’s Accidental Discovery.” The story was very contemporary, and Forde related it as if it were true. Well, maybe he thought it was true.

Renewed Focus on Faith
May 1, 2005

It would be hard to imagine a fundraising challenge more daunting than the one faced by the Archdiocese of Boston in January 2002, when the nationwide sexual-abuse scandal was at its height. The task was to win back the support of area Catholics dismayed by reports that the head of the archdiocese, Cardinal Bernard F. Law, had kept on dozens of priests who had sexually abused children and adolescents.