Cash It or Leave It
Mention anything related to money on your carrier envelope and you're sure to capture the attention of more than a few prospects. No doubt, "free" money is invaluable both in your bank account and as a way of generating attention and response from prospects.
For the past four years, the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) has relied on the impact of a live check in its acquisitions control package to lead prospective donors to respond to its call for support. Each year, 1.75 million pieces whose carrier envelopes read "Check Enclosed" arrive in the mailboxes of prospects who have contributed to other health-related charities. "The check is there to get them to open the envelope, then consider the appeal that's in there and then consider their contribution," says Joel Gerstel, executive director at the Staten Island-based organization (Archive code #604-171861-0810).
Inside the #10 carrier envelope is a $2 check attached to the reply device; on the reverse, "Tips for Independence" give prospective donors more information about the disease. A personalized, two-page letter explains Parkinson's disease and the organization's mission, and asks the prospect to consider returning the check to the organization along with a donation rather than cashing it. "What [many] people do is return the check back to us, even though we have put a couple of sentences in the letter [explaining] that you don't have to return the check," explains Gerstel. "If you want to donate, return the buckslip and you can cash the $2 check. Whether you donate or you don't, you can cash it."
Surely, a check sounds like a great way to capture anyone's attention, but what prevents most people from cashing the check without supporting the organization? "It's creative, and I think people respond to opening the envelope," says Gerstel. "What they do with the check is between them and their conscience."