DM Diagnosis: Heritage Foundation Appeal Takes Risks
Everything about the Heritage Foundation's invitation to join its monthly giving program screams, "Look at me! Open me! I'm irresistible!"
I have been a Heritage Foundation donor off and on for many years, and because I've received this package before, I believe it's a control. And a brilliant one.
A donor's experience with it is very tactile and begins with the 93⁄8-inch-by-12-inch outer envelope constructed of clear, plastic sheeting material that feels a bit heavier than the kind used to make freezer food storage bags. There's no flap, per se, but a slit at one end is "sealed" with an official-looking, neon-orange WARNING label that also reads, "Please do not tamper with or obstruct delivery of the contents of this package."
Most of the enclosures are concealed by an 81⁄2-inch-by-6-inch yellow page folded over the letter, reply form and return envelope. The recipient's address is circled in blue with a line to the teaser, "Please rush to this address." I wonder if it would be even more effective if this was hand-drawn and in real handwriting to match the signature on the letter, but it probably doesn't matter given what is paper-clipped beneath: a small stack of postage stamps.
Visible through the clear sheeting, those stamps make it pretty much impossible for a donor to throw this package away unopened. The 24-cent stamp on top is just the beginning, and who knows how much more postage is underneath?
What's underneath, as it turns out, are a 10-cent stamp and two 4-cent stamps, which was enough for First Class postage prior to May's increase to 44 cents. But the letter is dated April 20, and I received it on May 6, just a few days before the postage increase took effect.
At first I couldn't figure out why the Heritage Foundation hadn't either moved the mail date or included enough stamps for First Class postage regardless of when the donor replied. The last thing you want is your donor's response being returned to him or her with that mean U.S. Postal Service finger pointing at your donor's address, indicating the mail is being returned to sender due to "INSUFFICIENT POSTAGE."