Almost 2/3 of Consumer Mail Is Advertising
September 3, 2009

September 2, 2009, MediaPost — According to the USPS Household Diary Study, in 2008, U.S. households received 148.6 billion pieces of mail, and sent 21.3 billion. Mail sent or received by households constituted 81% of total domestic mail in FY 2008. 56% of the mail households received was sent Standard Mail. Only 4% of household mail, and about 3% of total mail, was sent between households; the rest was sent between households and non-households.

Postal Service Ends Third Quarter With $2.4 Billion Loss
August 5, 2009

WASHINGTON, August 5, 2009 — The U.S. Postal Service ended its third quarter (April 1 – June 30) with a net loss of $2.4 billion, including a non-cash adjustment that increased workers’ compensation expense by $807 million. Ongoing electronic diversion and the widespread economic recession continued to reduce mail volume, resulting in a $1.6 billion decrease in revenue for the quarter.

Postal Service Mailing Services Prices to Change on May 11
February 17, 2009

The Governors of the U.S. Postal Service have approved new prices for mailing services, including a 2-cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail stamp to 44 cents. Prices for mailing services are reviewed annually and adjusted each May. The new prices will go into effect Monday, May 11.

Fundraising 101 Direct Mail
January 1, 2009

We’ve dedicated four issues in 2009 to our Fundraising 101 series, which we hope will offer a solid look at some of the more fundamental issues involved in nonprofit fundraising. We start this month with a look at direct mail. In April, we tackle acquisition; in June, it’s special efforts, including monthly giving, lapsed donors, capital campaigns and planned giving; and, finally, we look at
e-philanthropy in October.

Whether you’ll be reading as a fundraising newbie looking for some entry-level guidance or as a seasoned professional looking for a refresher course to smooth the waters in this tough economic climate, we hope you’ll find these special reports immensely helpful. 

Photographic Balance
April 17, 2007

Using photographs in direct-mail packages focused on animal abuse is a tricky thing. What kinds of photos do you use? Ones that depict the suffering of animals? This could be a turn-off for recipients. And if recipients are unable to handle the images shown in a mailing, chances are they’ll turn away before making a donation. Not the desired result. I’ve seen a lot of mailings that use pictures of abused pets, horses or other livestock. They’re shocking and terrible, and they trigger a ton of emotions. But it’s a lot to handle and can catch recipients off guard, leading to a whole host

Three Thumbs Up
April 10, 2007

There are a few things that stand out to me about this mailing from World Vision. For starters, it includes its Web site URL on the mammoth 9-inch-by-12-inch, bright yellow outer envelope. Sandwiched below the call-to-action teaser “Urgent. Children are starving” and the address box is a line of copy that reads, “Save lives online at” It’s a great way to drive recipients to a place where they can support the organization, even if they never make it inside the mailing. I also like how World Vision positions its ask in this mailing. The 8.5-inch-by-11-inch letter explains that World Vision has received $14 million

Simply ‘Inspiring’
April 3, 2007

This is an incredibly simple, well-branded renewal mailing sent during the Jewish High Holiday season by the JCC Association. The mailing is very thin, including just a one-page letter, reply slip and BRE inside the No. 10 outer envelope. The elements have zero gloss or graphics, relying instead on splashes of plain, yet vibrant color within the copy. To the right of the address window on the envelope are clip-art-like images of a green apple and a wooden honey dipper, with the teaser “Inspiring Jewish Journeys. May your year be as sweet as an apple dipped in honey.” Random letters in the teaser are

Smart Stuff
March 27, 2007

Last week I focused on a powerful six-panel glossy pamphlet in a mailing from Planned Parenthood Federation of America. This week, it’s all about a six-page 8.25-inch-by-10.75-inch brochure in a Doctors Without Borders mailing. The brochure, like the PPFA pamphlet, is compelling in its combination of arresting design elements and text. In this case, the design elements are the colors used in the brochure — deep black and red — and black-and-white photographs. Headlines like “Saving Lives” and “Commitment: Answering the Call” in reverse type (white) literally jump off the page. Like the PPFA pamphlet, this brochure does a great job of putting the organization’s