Are You Teasing Me?
Yes, that’s right. An envelope that is addressed to the donor and has a live stamp (even the nonprofit stamp) appeals simply because of the unknown. The recipient thinks, “I don’t know who this is from, so I’ll take a few seconds to check it out.” Of course, your job then is to be sure you don’t disappoint — you must deliver with a great opening paragraph.
'RSVP Requested' or 'The favor of a reply is requested'
These teasers are great for older audiences who still feel a compulsion to honor the request to respond (and know what RSVP means). It probably won’t work with adults who aren’t compelled to respond to invitations, but rather just show up if they can. Test it before you put it on 100,000 acquisition mailings.
'Urgent membership information enclosed'
Membership in a nonprofit — even without any benefits — appeals to some donor demographics. However, others aren’t willing or able to commit to the “baggage” that membership implies in their minds. If a lapsed donor or prospect isn’t responding to your membership offers, test a non-membership mailing asking for a one-time gift for a great project.
'Your free gifts are enclosed (or waiting)'
That’s always a great way to get someone inside the envelope, but monitor to be certain you aren’t creating a file of premium collectors. I used to work for a nonprofit that offered a book every month. If the book seemed interesting, we did well. If the book didn’t resonate as well with donors, we didn’t do as well. We had inadvertently created a “book-of-the-month” club instead of a cadre of loyal supporters.
Great photos or intriguing questions
A strong, four-color photo gets a second look, and questions that a person really wants to know the answer to get the recipient to open the envelope. But avoid obvious questions; people who are talked down to are not likely to become donors.
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.