Flying High With a Soft Sell
Read through the copy of this follow-up package from Arlington, Va.-based Air Force Memorial Foundation and not only is it possible that a sense of patriotism and compassion will swell up inside you, you might experience a sense of reliefrelief that the push to contribute to the organization is hardly a push at all (Archive code #602-636895-0412).
While the intention of this effort is to prompt readers to purchase memorial coins commemorating the foundation's recent ground-breaking ceremony, the message is somewhat hidden behind a recollection of the event. Purchasing the coins is just gently mentioned in the letter and also is suggested as a gift idea or a personal memento.
According to Pete Lindquist, vice president of operations, the foundation chose the soft-sell approach for a couple of reasons.
"This is a follow-up to a previous mailing requesting contributions to the memorial's construction. It is giving those folks on the housefile who didn't respond initially an opportunity to do so in a different way," says Lindquist. "It was important to us to make sure we didn't try too hard with them. Frankly, we didn't want to cram anything down their throats or pressure them to give money since these recipients have given money before ... some have given many times."
Lindquist adds that although this effort is a way for the foundation to make money, it also is an opportunity for supporters to have something to remember the ground-breaking by.
"Most of the people on our list are loyal supporters," he says. "More than likely they are individuals who were at one time in the Air Force, or they are family members of veterans who want to make sure their loved ones were remembered as part of this memorial. The effort had to be written with a different, less straightforward approach."
The package, which consists of an 8-1/2" x 11" letter, an order form and a business reply envelope enclosed in a standard #10 envelope, features holiday images and clear, actual-size depictions of the coins.
Another aspect of the piece that stands out is its postscript, which is a member-get-a-member ask. Lindquist says the foundation uses it often, since it is an auditory-suggested postscript that allows the foundation to charge more of its mailings to its programming element.
"It also reminds folks that we still need money and, in a lot of cases, the best recruit[ment] occurs from person-to-person," says Lindquist. "It's a reminder to them that they are welcome to share their support with friends and family."
Since this coin effort is still under way for the foundation, Lindquist could not report on its success. He says, however, that the organization has been very happy with most of its campaigns.
"We will probably do three housefile mailings and perhaps one or two prospecting mailings this year," he adds. "We are in construction phase of the memorial and looking forward to a dedication event in October of 2006. We still have money we would like to raise to completely fund the construction bill, and although we are conscious of going back to [our] list too many times, our supporters need to know where we stand in the process."
Sharon Cole is a Philadelphia-based writer contributing to print-industry publications.