Keep It Simple Stupid
This mailing from Oxfam America is plain and sparse and that’s the point. Mailed blind in a No. 10 envelope, it includes a reply device, BRE, three-page 8.5-inch-by-11-inch letter, all of which are on plain white paper devoid of color save for the occasional green Oxfam America logo. The 3.75-inch-by-9-inch, six-panel brochure -- done in four-color and rife with photographs of the Third World people the organization helps -- provides the only gloss and color in the mailing.
The mailing’s sparseness is meant to convey the organization’s commitment to its mission. This is revealed in the letter, which begins: “Dear Friend, Here’s what you won’t find accompanying this letter: *address labels that ‘guilt trip’ you into giving; *an expensive calendar that you don’t need (and we can’t afford); *a vague-sounding petition addressed to somebody in Washington; *or heart-rending photos that play on your emotions.”
Instead, the letter promises a straightforward case for its mission and the need for support. The next two pages do so and the letter concludes by itemizing how far donors’ contributions can go, e.g., “$100 could provide a small loan to a poor woman in Guatemala to purchase livestock and see for food crops to help her family become more self-sufficient.” Beginning the letter in the way it did makes Oxfam’s statement showing how far donor contributions go more believable.
What’s more, the letter ends by hitting this message home in the P.S., which reads: “There are more than enough calendars, address labels and other gimmicks arriving in your mailbox. But, I’m willing to bet there’s no other organization that’s capable of doing more good with every dollar you send than Oxfam America does.”