Mailbag Review: Involvement Devices Help Fundraisers Succeed
Words, whether on a piece of paper or computer screen, can be powerful enough on their own to move people to donate money to a cause. But as a few mailings from May demonstrate, an involvement device often gives direct mail an added advantage over electronic means of giving.
An example of the former is an effort mailed by St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance (Archive code #611-704786-1005). "KEEPING OUR COMMITMENT TO ARIZONA," the address side of #10 OSE reassures in big, bold type across a multi-hued background. On the reverse side (repeated in the letter's Johnson box) are figures: "$2.5 MILLION ... 17,500,000 MEALS," all to get a previous donor to contribute again, and do so by a June 30 deadline.
Ronald McDonald House of New York (Archive code #613-358990-1005), while tugging on the heartstrings with its letter, includes a "Welcome" card that it asks to be mailed back, along with a donation. The card and the contributor's personal message provide encouraging words to families dealing with a child's serious illness.
Also counting on a tangible, personal connection to a cause is a retention mailing by Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (Archive code #611-718098-1005). Using the metaphor of a quilt to describe its mission of "healing, justice and wholeness," LSSI wants its "generous donors" to personalize and return a 3" x 3" square of cloth (taped to the reply form), so that it can be sewn into an actual quilt.
The two most prominent animal welfare organizations in the country each included magnets in some of their May mailings to reward their past supporters and, at the same time, remind them of their continued need for help. The ASPCA (Archive code #610-172762-1005A) mailed a 6" x 9" orange-and-white outer with a large window on one side. Through it shows a large picture frame magnet, with seven smaller magnets perfed on its inside. On each one is a slogan (e.g., "SPEAK for those who can't") used elsewhere by the organization in its advocacy activities, while the frame bears the ASPCA logo and urges "Make Pet Adoption Your First Option."
The renewal campaign for the Humane Society of the United States (Archive code #610-171869-1005A) at first glance resembles one of the ASPCA's controls (all-orange #10 outer; perfed coupon reply form with pictures of different animals). In urging the member to renew, the letter notes that any of the mission-specific reply coupons (for "Disaster Rescue", etc.) can be mailed back. But thoughtfully, the 6" "Magnetic Refrigerator Ruler" included in the mailing can be used to hold one of the remaining coupons "to make another generous gift at a later date." Even if the contributor rejects the suggestion, the magnet, like that of the APSCA, is a strong reminder of their membership and the organization's brand.
Related story: Fundraisers Dominating the Mailstream