What Ever Happened to My Mail Carrier?
If no one really cared about mail delivery, there wouldn’t have been more than 200 comments to a Washington Post online article in early 2014 about the latest threat to end Saturday delivery. Google wouldn’t have served up 128 million responses to my enquiry, “cancel Saturday mail delivery.” It would barely make a blip on the radar of the American public.
There may not be much in the mailbox worth retrieving, but for many, it’s that moment of anticipation. Maybe today will be “the” day — and I’ll get that check, letter from a friend, unexpected windfall, even a catalog that will remind me that spring will be here … eventually.
Mail has the potential to surprise
When you mail a fundraising appeal, a newsletter or a thank-you letter to your donor or prospect, you have an opportunity to add sizzle to an otherwise bland day. From the moment recipients hold the envelope in their hands to when they open it and read (or scan) the contents, you can make each one feel like the only person in the world that you care about right then. The reader can learn, laugh, be challenged or just feel good.
The right stories and photos in a newsletter can make a reader cry, get angry, take action or give thanks. He or she may learn something or have a long-held belief challenged. Or the reader may just feel appreciated and know that no matter what else happens today, he or she made a choice to give and that is having a positive impact in the world.
How much surprise your donor mail transmits is up to you, but you owe it to your donors to never treat any letter like it’s “just” an obligation. Instead, use it to deepen a relationship and communicate the utter joy of being part of your mission.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.