Editor’s Note: The October issue of FundRaising Success features a story by cartoonist and direct-mail consultant Stu Heinecke on using customized cartoons in direct-mail fundraising efforts. This is a sidebar to that story, “Drawing Attention to Your Cause.” 1. Focus on the recipient’s identity, not yours. Or your client’s. One of the biggest mistakes I see marketers making with personalized cartoons is that they forget who’s important: the recipient. The cartoon’s job is not to sell the product (or cause), but to reveal the truth — the reason why your product is needed or your cause is important. Sell them in the letter copy.
Why would anyone in his right mind suggest using humor in a fundraising campaign to help fight a terrible disease or address an important social cause? Ask any conventional direct-mail expert, and he’ll tell you humor is one of the quickest ways to kill your campaign. But in the 27 years I’ve been creating mailings, I’ve found humor to be an extremely effective tool for breaking through — and creating an instantly warm connection with people. In my experience, humor is perhaps the most effective way to humanize any organization. And when you do that, people begin to care. And respond. The problem