2013 Grand Control of the Year: Union of Concerned Scientists
Teaser copy and photos can be a powerful one-two punch in nonprofit direct mail. This combo works well for the current member acquisition effort by the Union of Concerned Scientists. It's been mailed for more than three years, one of more than 1,500 Grand Control mailings tracked by Who's Mailing What! and this year's selection as Grand Control of the Year. The team behind the package is Mal Warwick Associates, where it was designed internally; the copywriter was Barry Cox.
The front of the No. 10 outer envelope shows three prominent media personalities — Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck — and a single line explaining their presence: "It's time to clear the air ..." Inside, the four-page letter elaborates: "[they] are filling the airwaves with outright distortions every day about the reality of climate change."
According to UCS Membership Director John Mace, "These are three of the most recognizable pundits that have derided the scientific consensus that global warming is occurring, and who have implied that respected climate scientists are being dishonest when they present their research findings."
As shown in the viewer, a fact sheet included in the package bolsters the case against the pundits by comparing their statements with facts and positions championed by the UCS. Mace explains the approach based on reason: "We don't want or need to use hyperbole or guilt ... Our members support us because they understand the need for an organization that takes positions based on what the science tells us are the best solutions."
This technique — focusing on lightning-rod personalities — has worked wonders for other organizations in their direct-mail fundraising appeals and is worth testing. Greenpeace, the Democratic National Committee and People for the American Way, for example, have all mailed outer envelopes identifying a lineup of public figures likely to oppose their agendas.