Bigger Can Be Better
As everyone knows, the more you bring to the table, the better you usually fare. Of course, in direct mail, putting more in the package doesn’t always improve your rate of success.
With that in mind, consider the recent flat from St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, S.D. The lumpy package catches your attention right away with its weight, and keeps it by repeating the recipient’s name in bold italics, followed by the line, “four free gifts enclosed!” Above an ornate Native American design, large red type encapsulates the theme that runs throughout the mailer: “Dreams of Hope for the Lakota Children.” The final invitation to open the flat comes in the stamped words “do not bend,” indicating something of import inside (Archive code #613-172751-0702).
The goods are delivered once you crack it open, with the inclusion of a notepad, stickers, calendar and two address label sheets. The highlight is a leather dream catcher (connected to a keyring) showing through the small oval window of a #7 envelope; on the back of the card, which the dream catcher is taped to, is a stirring note about the “Legend of the Dreamcatcher,” from the school’s director, Father Stephen Huffstetter, SCJ.
The enclosed letter details how the donor “could be a dreamcatcher” and goes on to explain the Lakota Sioux people, including their proud but trying history, and how St. Joseph’s Indian School has cared for Sioux children since 1927; it’s signed by Fr. Huffstetter.
“The original package predates me. It was smaller than a #10 and was very inexpensive at the time, with no front-end premiums. It was just a letter, reply form, return envelope and a back-end premium, like a brass dream catcher,” says Kory Christianson, executive director of development for the St. Joseph’s Indian School for the past 14 years. It had a very low response rate, at about 1 percent, and the average gift was about $18.