Choose a Premium of Value to Donors
It’s more important to select a premium that has perceived value to your donor than it is to select one that relates to the theme or nature of your organization, says Hugh Chewning, president of Chewning Direct Marketing, providers of direct-mail strategy, consulting and copywriting.
“In fundraising, I think the most important thing is to select a premium that works and increases your net income, and if that happens to relate to the organization’s purpose, then that’s great. If it doesn’t, that’s great too. The sole purpose of the premium is to increase net income. End of story. So whatever premium does that best is the one to use,” he says.
While they might lean toward the simpler side, paper premiums are a good, low-cost way for organizations to get started using premiums -- for example, a small booklet on the 10 warning signs of cancer sent by a cancer prevention or awareness group. For some donors, an informational piece is valuable, while for others a premium they can put to use, such as address labels, is what works.
Chewning advises that if you use a premium, hype it up in the mailing. Include a teaser on the carrier, mention it in the first few paragraphs of the letter, and reiterate the gift in the P.S. And if it’s a back-end premium offer, Chewning recommends including a separate insert in the mailing that includes a picture and describes the gift.
There are advantages to using both front-end premiums (items all recipients receive in the direct-mail package) and back-end premiums (items sent later only to those who donate). A front-end premium can often boost response, and there are no fulfillment costs involved. Back-end premiums also can boost response. And while there are fulfillment costs, the organization only has to give out back-end premiums to individuals who have donated rather than everyone it mails, as with front-end premiums. For this reason, Chewning says back-end premiums can be items of greater value.