The order card responds to the letter in the reader’s voice: I don’t want gimmicks. I want to help Oxfam America fight hunger and poverty. I am enclosing a special donation of:
__$25 __$35 __$50 __$100 __Other $____
So no question exists as to what Oxfam America wants, the $35 is circled, and a handwritten note under it states, “This amount would really help!”
It’s well known that an organization will collect far more money in a fundraising effort if its DM asks for a specific amount from a donor.
The back of the order card offers additional ways to donate, including by credit card or by becoming a monthly Pledge Partner, either through an automatic credit card charge or with a monthly reminder to send a check.
The general consensus in the fundraising universe is that the last option is one of the least appealing ways to secure donations, since there is no guarantee that donors will uphold their end of the bargain.
Many organizations, as a matter of fact, won’t consider a donor to be a monthly sustainer if he or she hasn’t arranged for automatic credit card charges or electronic funds transfers.
In many of the mailings, a simple yellow slip of paper with black type alerts the reader about starvation in Ethiopia or earthquake victims in El Salvador. And sometimes, there’s a four-color brochure that describes Oxfam’s work around the world.
This technique departs from traditional direct mail. Normally, the letter is the piece that is “versionalized,” with the writer making a guilt-laden, emotional connection with the reader about a specific tragedy or need. In that case, the four-color brochure is the constant — the “it” copy that describes the product or service.
A two-color, inexpensive letter can be written, printed and mailed in a day, whereas the four-color brochure takes time to produce and is usually stockpiled in order to take advantage of lower costs in quantity printing. Here the Oxfam letter packs the emotional wallop, so it’s the brochure that is versionalized.