Changing a Look to Broaden a Message
Sending out direct mail appeals that stress time sensitivity is a successful approach for many nonprofits in need of funds. But, for large organizations with broad missions, maintaining the messaging of such packageswhile drawing attention to catastrophescan narrow the organization's image and obscure the plights of lower profile, everyday battles.
International-humanitarian organization Care recently took this dilemma head on, dropping a package in mid-July, that surfaced in the Who's Mailing What! Archive the same month (605CARUSA0704X).
The package, designed by international-marketing and communications firm Domain Group and sent to zero- to 24-month donors, is a departure from Care's usual mailings which focus on emergencies and rely on white outers. The red and black #10 outer features a 2-3/4" x 7-1/4" centered poly window that stretches across the face of the envelope and reveals three black and white photos of hungry, orphaned and homeless children from the response voucher.
According to Brian Cowart, director of direct marketing for Care, even when it hasn't used the white envelope in the past, Care usually utilizes its primary color scheme of orange and gold.
"The reason we use the red and black in this case is in our minds, we believe red creates more of an impression of urgency, which is what we're trying to get across with this package," says Cowart.
The shift in colors is connected to a change in Care's overall appealevidenced also in the letter and response devicein which it has switched the focus from specific emergencies to one of urgency.
Cowart says this allows Care to talk about the breadth of work it does around the worldfrom pressing emergencies to ongoing crisesand shows prospects that there is a constant need for their support.
The letter highlights four key areas of "extreme crisis," such as the situation in Sudan, where fleeing refugees lack food and water, and in Haiti, where floods have caused illness from poor sanitation. As Cowart attests, "those are all urgent situations, although they may not be couched as emergencies."
In addition to using different color schemes and messaging, this is the first time Care has gone with a poly window of this size. Cowart says they wanted an outer envelope that looks different in some way and that would increase the number of people who open it.
Cowart adds that the organization also wanted to make sure the black-and-white photos on the response voucher showed through the window, and to accomplish that they had to make a bigger poly window.
According to Cowart, the goal of this mailing was to expand the range of Care's messaging while maintaining past performance. And initial results show the mailing is doing just that.
If final results are as promising, Cowart expects this package will earn a place in Care's annual renewal series.