DM Diagnosis: Details, Details, Details
Small details matter in direct mail — and, down to the tiniest of them, this Boys Town Christmas appeal gets it right. On the outer envelope, the meter includes a personalized component. A graphic similar to the nonprofit’s logo with “Boys Town, Nebraska” wrapping around it in a circle alongside a series of parallel squiggle marks makes the postage look like a friendly, old meter mark — unlike current ones.
A second window on the back reveals the 2009 Boys Town Seals for Christmas enclosed for me, a relatively inexpensive premium incentive to get the envelope opened. Inside, in addition to the seals, are a one-sheet, two-page letter; a Christmas card for me to sign and return for the kids at Boys Town; a reply with gift certificates that perf off the bottom; and a BRE.
Even the BRE has small details to its credit. It’s printed with a security screen inside, a comfort for donors who prefer to send cash gifts — and since the gift certificates attached to the reply are each for $20, my guess is that cash gifts are not uncommon for this appeal, at least for the segment of the file I’m in.
I’m also impressed with a note on the back, “If I have made any mistakes in your name, please help me by making the correction and returning this to Boys Town. Thanks,” with Father Stephen Boes’ signature. Not, “Help us update our records,” but, “Help me.” A subtle, small touch that reinforces the package’s one-to-one communication style.
Just the right words and little extras
The letter is fabulous. While I’m not crazy about the font and the untabbed paragraphs because I believe they detract from readability, the copy itself is warm, conversational and, at moments, ovation-worthy. The majority of Page 1 tells Paul’s story — how he’d been living on the streets in South Central Los Angeles but this Christmas he’ll be surrounded by his “new family” at Boys Town.