Making the News Work for You
Roger Craver’s client was Habitat for Humanity, founded by Millard Fuller. When Andrew was being tracked in the Caribbean, Craver and his team spent days glued to the weather reports.
As the devastation became evident, Fuller, who was at Habitat’s headquarters in Americus, Ga., began writing copy. Up in Virginia, Craver and his associate, Jack Juhasz, closeted themselves in an office to create their own version of a fundraising letter. The various drafts were faxed back and forth between Arlington and Americus (this was pre-Internet and e-mail). A half-hour later Craver emerged with a letter that combined the best work of all three writers. Craver tossed the letter on the desk of account executive Cynthia Hampton and said, “Run with it!”
Hampton ordered the presses cranked up and the Hurricane Andrew emergency request was slammed into the mail the following day.
Two versions were mailed: Version No. 1: A “HURRICANE ANDREW ALERT” consisting of two pages printed in all caps was sent to donors of $250 or more via UPS. It asked for “an immediate contribution to Our Hurricane Andrew Fund in the amount of $1,500 or even $2,000 if at all possible.”
Everything about this effort screamed urgency—from the 9” x 12” UPS 2nd Day Air packet to the reply envelope (not a BRE) on which was scrawled in red:
Hurricane Andrew Emergency Fund
How could Habitat afford UPS? Because Hampton made a cold call to UPS and asked if it would deliver these efforts for free. The answer was yes.
Version No. 2 was the same letter, printed front-and-back on a plain white 8-1/2” x 11” sheet and mailed First Class in a two-window No. 10 “AIR GRAM” envelope to donors of less than $250. These donors were asked for an “amount of $75 or even $100 if at all possible.” This version converted some who had only given $50 before into $1,000 donors.