Nobody Is Speaking About Direct-Mail Fundraising but Everyone Should Be
It came to my mailbox with convincing handwriting on the envelope. Inside the flap, the deception continued. It was a printed email, addressed to me, donned with a sticky note begging me to get back to the sender quickly.
A few minutes passed before I detected the fraud. The “handwriting” had been printed lightly by a laser printer, not indenting the paper as actual freehand would have. And my own email address was missing from the email message.
Though the email implied someone really wanted to buy my car, I soon realized that clever marketers had pulled my Hyundai’s make, model and year from a database. They did not actually have a buyer waiting for my decision.
So while the strategists behind this piece had me considering whether the solicitation was legitimate, they did not have me considering selling my car. This was an intriguing direct-mail piece, to be sure, but in the end it was ineffective. After some consideration, it was recycled among many other creative attempts at getting my business.
Might this be an example of a last-ditch effort in the now dying art and inconsistent science of direct mail? Novel enough to make us pause before trashing it, but not compelling enough to move us to action? In a world pushing e-solicitations — for businesses and charities alike — does good, old-fashioned paper mail matter? My experience says yes.
I recently received a small, bright orange envelope in the mail. Thanksgiving was approaching, and our city’s soup kitchen was making a compelling request for funding. The organization laid out the price of each meal and offered tear-off cards to fill out — the very cards that would grace the table as clients enjoyed a warm, nutritious meal. I was hooked — so my check followed.