Balancing Urgency With Education
When it comes to direct-mail appeals from Doctors Without Borders/Medecines Sans Frontieres, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one lacking a sense of urgency. As an international medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by conflicts, epidemics and disasters, MSF writes urgency into everything it does — and it’s in the mail a lot asking for donor support.
Still, the sense of urgency doesn’t get old or lose its effect because it’s real. For the most part, the organization’s mailings are relatively sparse, and the letters often use a typewriter font, making them feel as though they were hurriedly typed from the front lines of disaster. There is no time for freemiums or premium offers, perhaps because there are none that wouldn’t cheapen the raw humanitarian need the organization is trying to convey.
This No. 10 is no exception to that format. The mailing announces its purpose on the white outer: “OUTBREAK: Deadly cholera epidemic in Angola.” Inside is an 8.5-inch-by-11-inch form with a standard letter format on one side that explains the need in Angola, with key sentences underlined in red: “In only 12 weeks, more than 34,000 people have been infected with cholera and some 1,200 have died.” On the other side of the form is a brochure-like layout that explains “The Deadly Spread of Cholera in Angola,” with a pull quote from a MSF emergency worker, a map of the area and black-and-white photographs of the affected people in the region.
And though the mailing strives to emit a sense of urgency, MSF doesn’t sacrifice educating its donors about what’s going on in the region.
THIS MAILING is available in digital form at the special price of $24.95. To order it, click on the package to be directed to our order form that contains other special offers on Archive mailings.