Gather Ye Data — Just Be Sure to Use It Well
From the first sentence, this letter is working hard to build rapport, with the use of an anecdote I imagine all parents can relate to. From there, the letter transitions to become all about the donor with heavy use of the words “you” and “your.” Excellent! It continues:
On top of your normal, 40-hour work week job, being a father is a full-time, 24-hour a day responsibility.
So today I want to ENCOURAGE you in three special ways. I want to remind you of the JOYS of your life at home …
… so that you will STAY STRONG in your extra-important role as a father!
Sadly, that’s when this most excellent package crashed and burned, because it was addressed to me — someone with no Y chromosome, no wife and no kids.
Most of the letter is about encouraging me as a MAN (Falwell’s emphasis) and as a husband, as well as a father. An offer and copy that would be perfect if I actually were all of those things is instead irrelevant:
God gave you a special gift when He gave you your wife! … Today, take the time to treasure the woman God has given to be your “help mate.” … Celebrate your Father’s Day by celebrating that very special part of your life — your marriage!
Jerry Falwell Ministries does not use a title before my name in this package, and I have no idea if it has gender data in its donor records. But it’s something every fundraiser should be very sure of before sending gender-specific offers to donors.
And in this case, the data field really needs to be checked yes not only for “male” but also for “father” and “husband” — with a double verify to be certain he’s not a widower, or in the middle of divorce proceedings, or a father whose only child is dead.