“Lift carefully … hundreds of meals inside.” Admit it, that’s a great teaser. It’s from Food & Friends, and it’s on a #7 that also stands out because it’s brown recycled paper rather than the bleached white envelopes we’re accustomed to getting. Inside, it seems to get even better: “Here’s what you won’t find accompanying this letter: address labels that ‘guilt trip’ you into giving; an expensive calendar that you don’t need … or a vague-sounding petition to somebody in Washington.” There’s only one problem: It steals the lead that Oxfam has made their staple for years. However, it still works and, in any case, goes immediately into the story behind this nonprofit and the many people it’s helped. Lastly, it uses six simulated “meal tickets,” each denoting a donation amount that approximates a certain number of meals, such as “$50 Meal Ticket – 31 Meals” (Archive code #611-414710-0710).
To get it “off to a fast start,” the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) decided to send out a fundraising letter in advance of its Telethon Campaign. Rather than use a standard letter and reply form, however, the MDA used a greeting card with a Degas-like watercolor of a young girl doing ballet; inside the card, the prospect finds a short letter from Jerry Lewis, the famed comedian and national chairman of the MDA. At the bottom of the note is a small picture of the watercolor artist, who turns out to have muscular dystrophy. An unusual freemium, a light switch sticker with the same watercolor, is also enclosed (Archive code #604-171728-0710).
Along with all of these shining examples of good direct fundraising mail, we also had a local (in other words, Philadelphia–based) mailer stumble with their effort. The Friends of Independence National Historical Park sent out a letter on fancy letter stock and a slick brochure/membership application in a #10, in hopes to re-up a lapsed member. However, only the letter is personalized, as the reply/membership form is completely blank and thus forces the prospect to fill it out again! To add insult to injury, the close of the letter asks for a referral to a “potential member” and, in turn, will send a copy of the book “What Would the Founders Do?”—but there’s nowhere in the mail piece to do that (Archive code #602-416638-0710).