Two Nonprofit Direct-mail Response Boosters
Lift notes and multiple poly windows are two direct-mail elements that, when done right, can boost response to a mailing.
A lift note is “designed to be a more personal, intimate piece of communication,” says Steve Penn, chief executive officer and executive creative director at Penn Garritano Direct Response Marketing.
Penn says most lift notes are “executive” sized (7-inch-by-10-inch) with “from the desk of,” giving it a more personal, one-on-one feel. Usually just a few paragraphs in length, lift notes should be signed by someone of high stature in the organization, and this person should be different than the letter signer.
While the letter in a direct-mail package lays out the offer and call to action and touches on all the benefits of response, the lift note should hit on a single benefit. “It’s usually a benefit of a higher order,” Penn says. “It’s a more aspirational, brand-oriented type of message.”
It also can be an emotional benefit outside of those mentioned in the main letter related to the organization and its mission.
“It’s used as another reason to contribute. It’s another point of view,” he adds. “A lift note is an example of what I call an-arm-around-the-shoulder marketing, where you’re really kind of trying to get intimate and familiar with the reader in a way that taps into their emotions and their aspirations.”
Penn is also a “big believer” in the power of using multiple windows on the outer envelope.
“I think it helps people get inside the package and creates a sense of curiosity about the contents. It allows you to show, for example, the cover of a brochure or some other kind of message on the back of the envelope,” he says.
An additional window can display part of the Johnson box from the letter, teasing recipients inside to read the rest of the message. This information also can be variable data that’s specific to the recipient’s geography or interests.