Don’t Let Space Go to Waste
December 5, 2006

This mailing from the Muscular Dystrophy Association is small in size and in the number of elements it includes, but it sure packs a punch. The outer envelope is a mere 4-inches-by-7.25-inches but is high gloss, and glitzy. It’s a follow-up mailing sent to individuals who already have given to the organization’s 2006 telethon. The back of the outer shows a picture of — you guessed it — Jerry Lewis along with Luke Christie, a 13-year-old boy with spinal muscular atrophy. Behind the two is a backdrop of Broadway-esque glam in full-color, with yellow stars, blue spotlight trails and copy reading “It’s Not Too Late!”

Reduced Postage Rates
December 1, 2006

There has been a lot of complaining lately about the reliability of the U.S. Postal Service. To which I say, “Bah humbug!”

Stop the complaining. Every business day, nonprofit organizations in our country receive a gift that keeps giving and giving: sharply reduced postage rates courtesy of American taxpayers.

'Twas the Week Before Christmas
December 1, 2006

'Twas the week before Christmas, and out front of the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The mailbox hung by the front door with care, Anticipating that a deluge soon would be there.

Strong Branding Brings It Together
November 28, 2006

This mailing from The Jerusalem Foundation struck me for its great branding and poignant use of photographs, which come together to give the mailing's elements a very high-touch feel. The mailing is simple, yet consistent in its branding, employing a forest green and purple color scheme that is initiated on the outer envelope and carried throughout the other elements, namely the 3.5-inch-by-8.5-inch four-color, glossy brochure. The background of the eight-panel brochure alternates between forest green and purple, accentuating the text and four-color photographs of the people the foundation serves. The brochure is beautifully laid out, with text that complements and draws attention to beautiful photographs,

Boxing Up a Message
November 21, 2006

You’ve probably seen the Thanksgiving mailings many food banks send each year that use brown paper lunch bags as the carrier. It’s a great idea. These mailings always catch my eye for their unique size, shape and look when compared to the oft-used white No. 10 and even the 6-inch-by-9-inch carriers. But more organizations — mostly food banks, but I’ve seen animal shelters use this format as well — are mailing brown bags, and the novelty has worn off a bit. I noticed this sadly, as I perused the direct mail that had accumulated in our Who’s Mailing What! direct mail Archive last month.

Strategic Direct Mail
November 14, 2006

When it comes to putting an end to hunger, there’s no time to waste. Here’s another example of a food bank that puts its purpose and need on the outer envelope in the hopes that recipients will pick up on this urgency and go inside. It’s a Thanksgiving voucher mailing from the San Diego Food Bank printed on cheap paper, with minimal colors, zero gloss and sparse elements. It screams budget, and it works. Why? Because its budget appearance validates the need it shouts on the 4.75-inch-by-6.5-inch outer, “3 Thanksgiving Meals—Just $1. Help Provide Food For Hungry Kids and Families. Immediate Reply Requested.” The mailing is

Hand Your Cause Over to Recipients
November 7, 2006

Bravo to St. Mary’s/Westside Food Bank Alliance for a mailing that hits its message home on the outer envelope and jolts recipients inside. What’s more, it does so by employing a teaser made up of just two simple images and seven words. The white No. 10 envelope features a shrunken image of a $1 bill tinted green with the words “100 of These” below it. Next to the dollar bill is a color photograph of a full plate of food with the words “Provide 700 of These!” below it. There’s a delicate balance when it comes to using a teaser on the outer envelope. You want

Keep Recipients Connected
October 31, 2006

A white No. 10 carrier envelope mailed blind and devoid of any design elements can be intriguing. But so too is an envelope decked out in four colors, rife with graphics and teasers, like this mailing sent by Capuchin Franciscans of the Province of St. Mary. The outer of this mailing features a pastel-colored illustration of Padre Pio, right hand raised in a blessing motion, surrounded by flowers of all colors. It’s a strong image. The illustration spans the face of the envelope, reminiscent of a religious fresco. Teasers above the address window read, “Receive the miraculous intercession of Padre Pio … Join us

Get Personal
October 24, 2006

When you think about personalization, you think of mailings that call prospects by name, right? This mailing from People for the American Way takes that concept to a new place. Inside the 6-inch-by-9-inch manila-colored envelope that teases the “2006 Action Plan Enclosed” are elements that call the organization’s President Ralph G. Neas by name. For example, the call to action on the 5.5-inch-by-8.5-inch reply device reads, “YES, RALPH! I’m still with you. …” The first page of the eight-page, 8.5-inch-by-11-inch action plan — faux red-stamped “Confidential” at the top — includes a faux handwritten message in the Johnson box area that reads, “Our 2006

Sum It Up With a Slogan
October 17, 2006

We live in a world of slogans. Whether through advertising or in the news we get on TV, slogans are everywhere. If you have a message, a catchy or otherwise memorable slogan can make it stick. While nonprofit organizations are not marketers or TV spin doctors, they too have messages that they struggle to have heard above the din. Using slogans of their own is one way to do that, as evidenced in this summer 2006 mailing from the ACLU. The No. 10 outer envelope is edged with a stately red, white and blue-striped border and features a headline that reads, “Crucial decisions are going