Just Slightly Contrarian: Oh, Woe to the Wimpy Reply Device
Forget that tradition. Forget about those dinky little slips. Forget about neatness. What is the fetish against folding?
Let’s say you’re mailing in a No. 9 carrier, and the reply form must fit (or so you think) into a reply envelope, flat, and the piece will be about 8 inches by 31⁄2 inches.
“Gee whiz and golly,” you think to yourself, “how do I get all that copy onto that diminutive slip of paper?”
Your solution is simple: You use an eight-point typeface and eliminate all the margins and white space. Basically, you create a black hole.
And why? Simply because you have a pathological aversion to folding a piece of paper — or asking your donors to fold it. You need therapy.
I’m seeing reply forms these days that are 81⁄2 inches by 11 inches! And, sure, the nice folks in the mailroom will send a petition to the executive director. But what’s the purpose of the package? To keep the mailroom staff happy or to raise money?
* The basic question you must ask yourself before you design the reply device is this: “Exactly what do I want the donor to do?” And once you have the answer to that question, your reply device must carry it out. It isn’t simply a matter that you want the donor to send money, but you want the donor to send a certain amount of money, for a certain project, for a certain reason, for a certain premium, to reach a certain goal. For example, the following statement meets the basic requirements:
“I agree that Ashland must have an emergency ‘Mercy Ambulance.’ Please use my gift to help purchase the ambulance and support the other projects of the Ashland Rescue Squad. I understand that in appreciation for my gift, you will send me your poster, ‘Life Saving Techniques for the Home.’”