What's Above Your Fold?
How do you open your mail? Do you pull out all the contents, or do you open the package like a wallet and thumb through what's inside? I ask because we know much too much about the workings of mail, and it's easy to forget that donors don't handle and look at what we send them the way we do.
Back when I had a post office box, I used to stake out the room to watch people get their mail at the end of the day and see them flip through it and toss some pieces into a big bin marked for recycling. There was a big island counter in the center of the P.O. box room, and on the luckiest days I'd have a chance to watch people open their mail — and that's when I realized there are content-pullers and thumb-throughers, and the latter were more likely to toss mail without a closer look.
There is zero science involved in my post office stakeouts, so take that for what it is. But I bring it up because it raises an interesting question.
Your package gets opened … now what?
Using the thumb-through method, I opened a bunch of mail and peeked inside. Here's some of what I read quickly:
"You should have seen the look on Katy's face when she heard someone say, 'Set two more places at the table!'" That's from St. Labre Indian School, and the letter jumps right into the story, tugging you in.
So does International Rescue Committee's: "Akot was frantic. All night long, she stood vigil over her ailing 9-month-old baby, Sarah, who was coughing nonstop and desperately gasping for breath." Thumbing past the letter, I caught the center of a glossy insert with an image of a string of beads surrounding the words, "Counting Correctly," and I had to know more about that. (It turns out they're used to count every breath a child takes, and if the red beads are reached before a minute has passed, the child definitely has pneumonia and needs antibiotics.)