A Tale of 4 Acquisition Efforts
Inserts have an important role to play
All four of these acquisition packages included inserts. And all of them were positive additions (in my opinion). As stated earlier, North Shore Animal League includes a sheet of address labels and stickers. Best Friends had a fold-out brochure about a "day in the life" of one of its rescued dogs. The photos really were worth a thousand words (at least to this dog lover).
The mailings from Union Rescue Mission and the Los Angeles Mission both included "bouncebacks" — small cards I could sign that would be placed on the trays of people who receive meals at Thanksgiving. These involvement devices are a great way to engage the reader.
I've definitely gone out on a limb here, criticizing things that may have been proved to be the very best tactic ever. But if you take nothing else away, remember this: When it comes to our own mailings, we can be blind. We assume everyone "gets it." We are sure they read the letter word for word, interact with the inserts, and immediately go to the reply form and make their gifts.
But in those dark hours when sleep eludes us, we realize the truth: Many recipients don't even open the envelope. So if we can only work on making one thing better, that's where we have to start.
TAKEAWAY: Look at the slides of the four mailings I've talked about here. Which one shouts out to you, "Open me!"? What can you take away from that realization that can impact your organization's own mailing envelope?
This old dog looks at a lot of envelopes that come in my mail; most leave little impression on me. (If you're not getting any mail, you're missing out on great fodder for learning! You may want to take a look at Who's Mailing What!, or start donating — give to get [mail, that is])! When I do open an envelope, I want to quickly grasp what it is I am being "offered" — what problem can I solve if I send a gift? Are you answering that question for your reader?
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.