Just Slightly Contrarian: Oh, Woe to the Wimpy Reply Device
* Try using a numbered reply device. This gives a feeling of exclusiveness to the appeal.
* Avoid legal phrases. Even though the reply device can be worded in the terms of a contract, the phrases must not be written as though they were created by a Philadelphia lawyer.
* Upgrading and renewals: Slant your copy directly to an inactive donor — for example: “We miss you! We really do!” — for a renewal effort, or use it to pat major donors on the back or stroke others into major-donor territory.
* Use a bold graphic — a person, a scene, a symbol. Perhaps something that ties in with the letter.
* Put the donor name and address in a large font, and give the area around it plenty of breathing room.
* If you’re using a response premium, re-sell the attributes of the premium. Illustrate it. Puff it.
* And finally: The problem with some fundraisers is that they think their message is so sacred that it can’t be delivered in mail-order style. Get over it.
Your next assignment is to collect 100 reply devices from packages that sell products or services. Study them. Report back.
Jerry Huntsinger is experimenting with telepathy to offset rising postage costs. Until he works it out, he continues to work as a freelancer and as senior creative consultant at Craver, Mathews, Smith & Co. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.