Special Report: Fundraising 101 Direct Mail
The bottom line is this: When selecting paper, the fundamental question should be how the physical attributes of the paper can help you achieve your goals.
- Aesthetic objectives include the mood the printed piece should convey; the impression the piece can create about the organization; or whether the tone of the piece should be fun, corporate or something in between. Such aesthetic questions might lead you to rule out a glossy stock for a text-heavy piece or specify a high-quality paper to bring life to an outdoor or wildlife campaign.
- Functional objectives include considerations such as whether the piece will have to stand up to a lot of folding and unfolding (e.g., a map); whether or not the piece might be written on (e.g., a calendar); if thickness requirements for reply cards or size limitations for postal discounts will pass U.S. Postal Service scrutiny; or whether your piece will be read and discarded, or kept for months or maybe even years.
- Nonprofit organizations seeking donations through direct-mail solicitations might want to consider how paper choices could influence the recipients’ perspective of the organization’s need. For example, a glossy, high-end printed piece could make your potential donor perceive that you’ve spent (read: wasted) more money on mailings than on supporting the cause.
3. Keep an eye on green
In a recent survey reported on the blog Talent Insights, nearly 70 percent of respondents said they would be more likely to work with a company that “goes green” and uses sustainable practices. In the printing industry, that means knowing where your paper comes from, adhering to strict standards and helping your customers make wise choices for their projects.
Recycled papers help reduce the amount of paper in our landfills; they’re readily available and generally derived from two sources:
- Post-Consumer Waste, recovered papers that have served their original purpose and require de-inking, bleaching and other processing to be used again, and;
- Pre-Consumer Waste, recovered paper that has never reached the consumer, like trim waste and residual rolls from a printer.
Expect to pay approximately 10 percent more for recycled papers due to the cost of the recycling equipment necessary to recapture post-consumer waste. The good news is that paper can be recycled numerous times until the elemental fibers break down to the point where they are no longer solid.