All acquisition packages should be this effortless to navigate and still maintain an effective degree of emotion, credibility and urgency. New York’s Lighthouse International, which raises funds to help blind and impaired-vision individuals secure the skills and resources they need to live independent lives, is crystal clear about its mission, its needs and its prospects’ needs.
Getting it opened
The outer envelope uses the teaser copy above the way teaser copy is meant to be used. The prospect will associate the Lighthouse name with the blind or vision impaired, but the purposely garbled teaser brings the message home. It draws the reader in and forces him to open the envelope, if only to find out why it looks like that. It’s like a game, but it never loses its serious tone.
Continuing the challenge
Lighthouse International continues the message in the very first sentence of the letter by explaining what the teaser is all about and then, in the next few sentences, reveals exactly what the problem is in easy-to-understand terms. The sentences are short and to the point. The prospect can identify with “millions of Americans” because the teaser line (which is duplicated on the letter) paints a clear picture: “They see distorted letters. Unrecognizable shapes. A blur.”
Then the guilt kicks in: “People with serious vision problems are unable to do many things that most of us take for granted … “ But it’s carefully worded guilt that allows the reader to feel grateful for the sight he has rather than so guilty that he stops reading.
Before the prospect is even a quarter of the way through the letter, the essential element of emotional, donor-centered copy is already met.
Urgency, credibility, need
Halfway down the first page, in just two short sentences, Lighthouse rolls urgency and need together so quickly that the prospect barely recognizes that he’s being asked for money.