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

Nonprofit Postal Rate Recommendations Ignored
March 19, 2007

Monday, March 19, 2007 — The Governors of the US Postal Service (USPS) this afternoon approved most of the Postal Regulatory Commission’s (PRC) postal rate recommendations, which were announced on February 26.  Most of the new rates will take effect on May 14, 2007.   The Governors listened to DMA’s members and requested reconsideration of the PRC’s rate recommendations for Standard Mail flats (catalogs).  The Governors also ask the PRC to reconsider recommended rates for the Non-Machinable Surcharge for First-Class Mail letters, and the Priority Mail Flat-Rate Box. On Tuesday, March 20 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (EDT), DMA will host a virtual seminar on

It’s Elementary
March 18, 2007

Sometimes all it takes is one element with one strong image that intertwines with and communicates a singular, strong message to give a direct-mail package response-driving impact. This mailing from Planned Parenthood Federation of America trying to rally support against pharmacists’ refusal to fill birth-control prescriptions achieves this with a six-panel, 4-inch-by-7-inch glossy pamphlet. The package is mailed in a white No. 10 envelope with faux red-stamp copy reading “Petition Enclosed” and includes an 8.5-inch-by-14-inch form with the reply device and three petitions, a four-page, 8.5-inch-by-11-inch letter and a BRE, in addition to the pamphlet. The letter does a good job of laying PPFA’s case, but

A Postal Rate Case Update
March 13, 2007

March 9, 2007 11:30 a.m. (EST) Dear DMA Member: What a week this has been for the mailing community! As you are probably aware, we have been working aggressively to let the US Postal Service (USPS) Board of Governors know that some of the specific rate increase recommendations issued by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) on February 26 would be devastating to many of our commercial and nonprofit members. I would like to take a moment to bring you up to speed on what has happened so far, and what we must prepare for in the weeks and months ahead. But first, I want

A Missed Opportunity
March 12, 2007

There are two aspects of this membership mailing from the Foundation for the National Archives worth noting. First, it is a very well branded piece that uses a red, white and blue color scheme to accentuate copy throughout the mailing, but most effectively on the outer envelope and reply device. This repeated, bold color scheme pulls all of the mailing’s elements together in a very strong way. This branding also comes through powerfully on the 3.5-inch-by-8.5-inch double-sided glossy insert. It features background colors of red and blue, images of the National Archives building, the Declaration of Independence and a colonial American soldier playing a whistle,