Bringing in the Big Gun
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV), a staunch proponent of outer envelope "shock teasers" and fear-inspiring donor letters, may have discovered its most jarringly effective effort to date.
In May, the gun control nonprofit dropped a #11 envelope package with a graphic of an Intratec TEC-9 Assault Pistol
ominously displayed above the poly window (601COSTGV0503). The adjoining teaser copy to the rightmuch more quiet and subtle than an image of a gun, but just as powerful in this contextreads: "Legal in your neighborhood as of 9/04."
The package contains just a four-page letter, donor card and BRE. It is clear that this particular recipient has given to CSGV before, since the ask ladder on the donor card reads: $100, $150 and $200. On the back of the donor card is a pre-written note to the prospect's Senators that he can sign-off on.
Unlike some outer envelope teaser techniques, where the zippy copy and intriguing graphics fail to correlate with the message or offer, this effort from the CSGV wastes no time in tying in its tease and attacking the issue at hand.
"The Intratec TEC-9 assault pistol, like the one pictured on this envelope, is capable of pumping fifty rounds of lethal ammunition into a human body in 30 seconds flat," the lead paragraph of the letter reads.
While its letters always hone in on the mind-set of left-leaning donors, one might be surprised to learn that the CSGV has not regularly incorporated ghastly images of guns on its outer envelope. Instead, the fund-raiser has employed poignant copy teasers. For example:
1) An August 2002, #10 envelope package with the teaser: "America: Before you vote this November, ask yourself ... will your candidate stand up to John Ashcroft?"
2) A September 2002, #10 envelope package with the teaser: "Enclosed: Your Weapon to Show That John Ashcroft Serves Only One MasterThe NRA." Smaller adjoining copy reads: "John Ashcroft: The Best Attorney General The NRA Could Buy!"
Since George W. Bush took office, it seems as if every left-of-center themed fund-raising effort in the mailstream takes fierce jabs at the members of his administration.
The CSGV departs from that technique slightly with this fund-raising effort, primarily focusing on educating prospective donors on the harm done by deadly assault pistols, the Intratec TEC-9 in particular. "Five children were shot to death and 30 others wounded at the Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, CA, on January 17, 1989, when Patrick Purdy used his AK-47 assault rifle to spray the school playground with 106 rounds of lethal ammunition in less than two minutes," the letter reads.
While its prime antagonists continue to be Bush, Ashcroft and the NRA, the CSGV uses the sheer shock value of a deadly pistol and its effects to draw donor dollars. With this mailing in particular, it underscores to donors that the problem is closer to home than to Capitol Hill.