Two Premium Tips
Every organization that sends direct mail knows that, nine times out of 10, including a premium in a direct-mail package will increase response. But, similarly, it’s also common knowledge that in addition to increasing the cost of a mailing — both in terms of production and postage — premium mailings net lower-value donors. So, what to do?
Peter Schoewe, senior consultant with direct-response fundraising firm Mal Warwick Associates, shared two key tips for how to get the most out of up-front premiums in the monthly, consistently useful Mal Warwick’s Newsletter last November. They are:
1. Give the prospect a premium they want, not what you think they need. “The more your premium looks like a product your donor will see in a catalog or in a store, the more likely she’ll be to respond with a gift,” Schoewe wrote.
Premiums that yield the greatest response are those with engaging art, bright designs and foil stamping. He notes, however, that greeting cards are an exception to this rule, as “donors are more likely to respond to a greeting card package if the back is printed with a statement indicating the card represents a gift to a charitable organization.”
2. Remember that the premium is not the offer. If the cards or address labels you include are the main focus of your mailing, the donors you attract will have no connection to your organization and its mission. Instead, Schoewe wrote, “the premium should be integrated into a package that offers an urgent and compelling reason for the donor to take the time to send a gift — other than receiving a gift from you and feeling guilty about it.”
Having strong copy that spells out the case for giving in premium acquisition packages is incredibly important. The combination of strong, hard-hitting copy — over a feel-good premium-focused letter — and a premium hits the sweet spot and can result in valuable long-term donors. “If you let prospective donors know in strong and emotional terms how much you need their support, the addition of a well-designed and engaging premium may have a multiplicative effect in inspiring them to commit to your cause,” Schoewe explained.