Creating Soldiers of the Sea
October 10, 2006

With this mailing, the Ocean Conservancy isn’t just presenting its mission, educating donors and asking for donations, it’s creating activists — “soldiers of the sea,” if you will. Sent in a 6-inch-by-9-inch four-color outer with a picture of a whale splashing in the sea, the mailing includes a sheet of personalized name and address labels, an “Advocate for wild, healthy oceans” decal and an offer of an Ocean Conservancy windbreaker — along with membership to the organization — with a gift of $15 or more. But the Ocean Conservancy doesn’t just give prospects the tools to pass on its brand and message; it educates them

A Break From the Norm Can Convey Worth
October 3, 2006

For zoos, aquariums and museums, membership comes with some serious benefits, most often free admission. But when it comes to such institutions, there often are differing motivations for becoming a member: cost savings and status. This membership mailing from The Museum of Modern Art lays out both options — and giving levels in between — but aims to net the latter. Sent in a 4-inch-by-7.5-inch off-white, invitation-style outer envelope, it bears a live stamp and, just above the MoMA return address, the line, “Agnes Gund, President Emerita.” Announcing that it’s a personal invite from MoMA’s president from the start makes the mailing scream “high touch.”

Balancing Urgency With Education
September 26, 2006

When it comes to direct-mail appeals from Doctors Without Borders/Medecines Sans Frontieres, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one lacking a sense of urgency. As an international medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by conflicts, epidemics and disasters, MSF writes urgency into everything it does — and it’s in the mail a lot asking for donor support. Still, the sense of urgency doesn’t get old or lose its effect because it’s real. For the most part, the organization’s mailings are relatively sparse, and the letters often use a typewriter font, making them feel as though they were hurriedly typed from the

Dear Diary
September 19, 2006

This mailing from the Humane Society of the United States employs a unique freemium of a diary, but keeps it anything but secret. Written in maroon on the white 4.5-inch-by-8.5-inch outer is the teaser, “The enclosed FREE GIFT will help you throughout your day!” Inside the mailing — sent to HSUS members — is a 3.5-inch-by-7-inch reply device, a BRE, the 4-inch-by-6-inch four-color diary and a 7.25-inch-by-10.25-inch four-page letter. The paperback-weight cover of the diary has an adorable illustration of a puppy and kitten sleeping cheek to cheek. Inside are blank diary pages, as well as a mini-calendar and address-book pages. On the back

Is It Time to Panic?
November 1, 2005

You’ve been hearing about proposed postal-rate increases; rules against personalizing mail pieces with your donor information and thanking donors; new, expensive accountability measures; and rules against e-mailing potential donors.

So is it time to hit the panic button? No, but this also is no time to allow yourself to continue on, unfamiliar with the legislation and other changes that could affect your organization’s fundraising efforts.

Following is an update on some of the issues the Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation is monitoring.

Tales From the Crypt
July 1, 2005

For those of us who manage prospecting campaigns, there is a span of a month or two between ordering lists and dropping the direct-mail appeals in the mail stream. Usually that time is spent putting the finishing touches on the creative packages and getting the materials ready to go.

But while we fuss over the creative, something else is happening that’s every bit as important to the campaign. Down in the data crypt, thousands, and perhaps millions, of names from many sources are brought together for a complex process called a merge/purge.

Adding Telefundraising to Your Mail and E-mail Mix
November 23, 2004

The costs associated with telefundraising tend to be higher on a per-unit basis than direct mail or e-mail, maintains Joe White, vice president of sales and marketing for the Share Group, a full-service nonprofit agency based in Somerville, Mass. But when it comes to acquiring and upgrading monthly sustainers, the telephone is far and away the most cost effective, he says. White has added telefundraising to the marketing mix for myriad clients as a retention tool and has experienced varying degrees of success. “Increasingly, we have begun building phone-only files,” White says, “by calling direct mail donors who have not made a gift in

Postal Rulings
September 1, 2004

How will the U.S. Postal Service’s proposed rule regarding the differences between a personalized standard-mail piece and a personalized first-class piece affect direct mail fundraising?

Postal Reform on the Horizon
May 1, 2004

The Senate’s Governmental Affairs Committee and the House of Representatives’ Committee on Government Reform hosted the final hearing on postal reform in late March. There, U.S. Postal Service officials had one last opportunity to present their proposals for reform of the USPS.

Critics: Loosened Mail Rule Could Open Pandora's Box of Abuse
January 1, 2004

A change to the United States Postal Service’s Cooperative Mail Rule went into effect late last year, permitting nonprofit mailers to partner with third-party, commercial fundraising firms while still retaining the ability to mail at nonprofit postal rates. Previously, if a nonprofit group entered a joint venture with a for-profit company, any resulting mail would be ineligible for the nonprofit rate.