A Good Deed for the Boy Scouts
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.
The old control connected with the core constituency. Copy said BSA helps to “ … instill strong moral values and character in our youth … and help them become responsible citizens.”
A worthy and credible claim, yes. But it was too warm, fuzzy and general to get fence sitters to write checks.
The package was holding its own, but I knew we could improve results by doing a better job defining the Scouts’ wholesome image and increasing reader involvement.
A back-to-basics appeal
When assigned, I briefly considered mentioning BSA’s legal troubles in recent years but decided not to do so directly. It’s best not to open a can of worms that dilutes this message: The Boy Scouts is all about helping boys. Period.
Its own materials say it best. The Scout law, oath, motto and slogan indicate what BSA is all about. New Boy Scouts are required to memorize these sayings; I assumed many ex-Scouts and Scout parents receiving this mailing would also know them.
For this reason, I put at least one of these items on every component except the reply envelope. I took a one-two-punch approach with copy that promises BSA will “uphold traditional American values” and BSA materials that show how it accomplishes this goal.
Inexpensive art can work
My assignment was to work with the control’s existing modest format. Components included a closed-face, 4-and-1⁄8-inch-by-8-and-7⁄8-inch outer envelope produced in-line with a short computer letter and a chopped donation slip. The control also had a reply envelope.