Fundraising Letters That Work
In fundraising direct mail, the letter is the thing. You have just a matter of seconds to grab the reader’s attention — or wind up in the trash bin. We scanned Who’s Mailing What!, the world’s largest library of direct-mail and e-mail samples, to share with you these top fundraising letters and the stories behind them.
2013 Grand Control of the Year: Union of Concerned Scientists
Teaser copy and photos can be a powerful one-two punch in nonprofit direct mail. This combo works well for the current member acquisition effort by the Union of Concerned Scientists. It’s been mailed for more than three years, one of more than 1,500 Grand Control mailings tracked by Who’s Mailing What!, and the 2013 selection as Grand Control of the Year in FundRaising Success’ Gold Awards. The team behind the package is Mal Warwick Associates, where it was designed internally; the copywriter was Barry Cox.
The front of the No. 10 outer envelope shows three prominent media personalities — Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck — and a single line explaining their presence: “It’s time to clear the air ...” Inside, the four-page letter elaborates: “[they] are filling the airwaves with outright distortions every day about the reality of climate change.”
According to UCS Membership Director John Mace, “These are three of the most recognizable pundits that have derided the scientific consensus that global warming is occurring, and who have implied that respected climate scientists are being dishonest when they present their research findings.”
A fact sheet included in the package bolsters the case against the pundits by comparing their statements with facts and positions championed by the UCS. Mace explains the approach based on reason: “We don’t want or need to use hyperbole or guilt ... Our members support us because they understand the need for an organization that takes positions based on what the science tells us are the best solutions.”