Don't Suffocate Your Readers
Not long ago, I was shopping at Whole Foods when I realized with a jolt that I was just an appliquéed theme sweater away from turning into my mother.
There I was, squinting helplessly at a product label I couldn’t read. Hoping to auto focus my eyes like a telephoto lens, I stretched the item out as far as my hand would reach and brought it back again to within an inch of my face. No luck.
Frustrated, but a determined problem-solver, I went to a nearby kiosk with a dazzling array of reading glasses. Zebra stripes, polka-dots, Jackson Pollock prints — wild and wicked fashion eyewear galore, but nary a plain frame in sight. My mother would have bought one of each to coordinate with her various theme wear. The epiphany hit as I selected a black and neon lime-green pair.
So what does this have to do with fundraising letters, you ask?
Simply this: I get it now. I feel the frustration of not being able to read
comfortably. And while I’m not yet in the typical donor age demographic, I know what it’s like to have difficulty deciphering print.
Be easy on the eyes
If you love your donors, treat them well by mailing letters they can read easily. Please, I implore you.
There’s a disturbing trend I notice in the mail these days, as more copy gets crammed onto fewer, and smaller, pieces of paper. Increasing paper costs probably are driving the shrinky-dink formatting and design. And with postage increases piled on to boot, the tendency to try whittling away at the cost per thousand any way you can is understandable.
Vacuum-packing your copy is dangerous. The donor who’ll work to read your letter is one in a million. With so many friendlier pieces of mail vying for her attention the same day she receives your letter, it’s too easy for her to set yours aside, because even her strongest reading glasses aren’t enough to see what you have to say.