Non Profits - Getting the Word Out Fast
With the development of digital technologies that have been adopted by printing companies, lettershops and other full-service direct mail companies across the planet, direct marketers are capable of getting a campaign printed and mailed virtually overnight. Of course, getting the campaign written and signed off on might take a lot longer.
After the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we were sure that we would see quite a few immediate emergency appeals from disaster relief services. In fact, we were surprised when the Archive received only six efforts by the end of September that were related to the attacks. All mailings were quick-to-produce #10 envelope formats.
The New York chapter of the American Jewish Committee dropped at least two efforts to its supporters in the week of and the week following the attacks. The first effort (609AMJECO0901A) invited members to attend a special town hall meeting to learn how the attacks would affect the future of America and Israel. The second effort, signed by President Kenneth Brown and Executive Director Diane Steinman, kindly expressed sympathy for those who lost family or friends in the attacks, and asked members who wanted to help the recovery effort to send donations to the American Jewish Committee 911 Fund, which supports the families of the police officers, firefighters and emergency medical staff. In all, two appropriate messages that provided members with the information they might need and a way to help others.
Americares, an international relief organization, relied on the effective telegram-look for its Heroes Fund campaign solicitation (605AMERIC0901).
A nice move by Chairman Bob Macauley and his wife was to pay the tab for the cost of the mailing themselves, and to promise to give every cent donated directly to the families of the fallen New York City police officers and firefighters. While this effort is not dated, it is the only mailing that shared some specifics with prospects, relaying the early estimate of 207 firefighters and 57 police officers missing and presumed dead.
An unusual mailing came from UNICEF, in that it was comprised mainly of a letter from President Charley Lyons, who was moved to write to UNICEF supporters to share his condolences to those who had lost loved ones and to renew his organization's commitment to helping children (613UNICEF0901).
While there is no appeal for a donation, a BRE is enclosed. Citymeals on Wheels was far more direct in its request, largely because it had a pressing need to answer (611CITWHE0901). The outer envelope is punctuated by a single line of red type, "Meal Deliveries Disrupted: emergency food supplies needed." The letter is dated simply "September 2001," and explains its obstacles to getting food delivered to shut-in seniors in lower Manhattan.
An interesting twist on this effort is the use of the back of the letter for a fax-back form for credit card donations. The letter's P.S. points out that mail delivery of donations is slow, and that the emergency food supply already has been depletedwhich gives recipients a reason to respond right away.
Finally, we did receive at least one effort from the American Red Cross. This was the only effort that was datedand on Sept. 11 at 11:25 am to boot (611AMRECR0901E).
A second window on the front of the outer envelope displays a message that this effort is in response to the terrorist attacks. The copy is short and to the point: The American Red Cross has mobilized to bring relief to the victims, but it needs financial help to continue its efforts. Considering that our correspondent who received this effort made a donation of $50 to the American Red Cross in August, it was interesting to note that the ask ladder started at $50 and then dropped to $25, $15 and other.