Just Slightly Contrarian: Oh, Woe to the Wimpy Reply Device
7) If you haven’t used a specific dollar amount, you might still use dollar amounts with a box by each, such as $10, $25, $50, etc. The dollar string is a bore but an absolute necessity.
As often as possible, list a dollar amount that represents the amount the donor is most apt to give, plus a provision for a bigger gift. You would never put a dollar amount of $10 or $25 for your $100 donors, or $5 or $10 for your $25 donors.
And don’t do stupid things, such as reversing the order of the dollar string. People think from the lowest to the highest, not vice versa.
8) Along with the dollar amount, there should be a box indicating an “other amount.” This gives the donor a chance to make a larger — or, alas, smaller — gift, but it allows him some flexibility in the final decision.
9) To asterisk or not to asterisk? A good rule is to just always asterisk. Put the asterisk on the dollar amount that is higher than what you’re asking. Then place the other asterisk to the side or below, with handwritten text, such as: We urgently need folks like you to take a giant step forward and give this amount right now.
Make both asterisks big and bold. Put the handwritten text in a colored ink. Make it all pop out.
Making it grab attention
The reply device is a separate physical piece from all other parts of the mailing package. Use a contrasting color of stock and ink to make it stand out. Maybe put a black-dot border all the way around it. Come on — this is mail order. The purpose is fundraising, but the techniques are driven by commercial mail.
And the size? Traditionally, it comfortably slips neatly into a reply envelope.
- Jerry Huntsinger