First Up: Holiday Note Cards
When prospects are still thinking about turkey dinners on Thanksgiving, direct mailers are one step ahead-dropping packages in November and December to stoke holiday activity. In the nonprofit sector, many packages arrive around holiday time, weighed down with freemiums such as gift wrap, gift bags, gift tags, calendars, address labels and stickers, among other items to help prospects with gift giving and ringing in the new year.
Year over year, one of the most popular tactics for nonprofit organizations around the winter holidays is to send note card freemiums. Marketers across sectors can gain insight from some of the best executed holiday note card efforts received by the Who's Mailing What! Archive this season, outlined below.
1. Use Children's Drawings to Warm Up Prospects
First up is a package sent in November by SOS Children's Villages, which provides care to children in need internationally. The first highlight of the package is the hand-drawn illustration on the front outer, which shows symbols of Christmas celebrations, including a tree, mistletoe and gifts. When you get inside the package, you learn that an 8-year-old participant in the program made the drawing, as it also is featured on one of the five unique note cards. Each card explains the organization's mission and gives the information of each child artist. In an effort to encourage response, the reply form for this package is renamed a "receipt verification" where prospects can check off "Thank You! I received my SOS Children's Villages holiday greeting cards," and also make a donation (Archive code #613-705743-0811).
2. Position Note Cards to Promote Word-of-Mouth
FINCA International sent a note card package in November, which was not holiday-themed, but instead focused on the organization's mission to provide micro-loans to low income entrepreneurs.
Three note cards inside the package show women from different countries who are in business due to FINCA's loans, and their stories are outlined inside the cards. Craig Lamb, a consulting adviser to FINCA's fundraising program, says one benefit of the card package is it helps spread the word about the charity's good work through those donors who send the cards on to friends and family. That's why in the P.S. of FINCA's letter, donors are encouraged to "use the note cards I've enclosed to help spread the stories of these amazing women" (Archive code #605-637291-0811B).
3. Detail Donor Instructions and Add-on Premiums
Showing through the oversized back window of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate's November mailing is an image of a gift-wrapped present with the copy "Give the Gift of Prayer." Not only does this package include three white-and gold-note cards with matching envelopes, but it also includes three postcards where donors can be remembered in prayer or give the gift of prayer to friends or relatives in the form of donations. In case the prospect is overwhelmed by all the contents of this package, there are easy, three-step instructions on the reply for how to donate and even receive back-end premium gifts like a rosary, pin, statuette and bracelet for each level of giving (Archive code #609-173192-0811).
4. Pack in More Cards by Mailing Them Flat
Finally, an 8" x 11" flat package from Susan G. Komen for The Cure, decorated with its signature pink ribbon logo and tiny black and white snowflakes, arrived in November. Copy under the address window announces, "SEE INSIDE! Your 2008 Holiday Card Collection is Enclosed." Prospects won't be disappointed by the 12 note cards with four different designs, all laying flat inside the package, ready to be folded and mailed.
Unlike some of the other mailers, Susan G. Komen also includes one envelope for each note card and a sheet of "seal" stickers featuring the organization's logo to tack on the back. While this may seem like an expensive package, especially in a flat format, Lamb, who's worked on note card packages for several groups, says the benefits usually outweigh the costs. "Though more expensive to produce, I find average response much higher, average gifts a bit lower, but overall a better return on investment than a traditional, noncard package" (Archive code #604-637679-0811B).