Post-It Note Trumps the Call
When readers open this reminder letter sent by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., the first thing that catches their attention is probably the personalized, yellow sticky note bearing a message that appears to be handwritten (Archive code#604-171950-0605A). The note states that AICR will be telephoning donors in the area who have not renewed their support. "A contribution at this time may save us the cost of a phone call," it concludes.
While the strategy may appeal to readers' desires to avoid receiving yet another telemarketing call, the message indicates there was a monetary benefit for AICR to not have to make a call. Is that the case? Does the cost of the fundraising call outweigh the expense of the personalized sticky note?
According to Kelly Browning, the organization's executive vice president, the answer is yes.
"There is an additional cost of using the sticky note, but the cost is small compared to that of a telephone call," he says. "We tested the wording of the note, and it increased response enough to justify the additional cost of the sticky itself, its attachment to the mailing and the match step in the process."
But this strategy is not new for AICR. Browning reports that the nonprofit has utilized this technique consistently over the past 10 years. "In fact, I believe there are two packages that use the sticky notes as well as the reminder technique, and there is another that uses just the reminder theme," he says.
The elements of this mailing include a plain, white #10 outer envelope with the recipient's address set in the same handwriting font as the sticky note, a red "REMINDER" stamp, and the words "Recorded Correspondence" under the return address. Inside is the reminder letter bearing the yellow sticky note in the upper right-hand corner.
The one-page letter also includes seven, simply stated diet and health guidelines for reducing cancer risk listed in the upper left-hand corner with additional, more thorough tips bulleted on the back. The effort also includes a donor buckslip with a detachable stub for the recipient's records and a blue BRE.
While the save-us-the-cost-of-a-phone-call message appears to be the primary strategy of this piece, there is another tactic that resonates with recipients: the multiple printing of educational messages on how to reduce the risk of getting cancer.
Says Browning, "We use a variety of educational messages that encourage recipients to take action to improve their overall health and to reduce their risk of developing cancer. These messages are repeated and presented in a variety of ways to ensure maximum exposure to the recipient and are designed to induce a response that leads to better health for the recipient of the educational message."
In this mailing, such messages are printed in three separate areas: on the front of the letter, the back of the letter and on the back of the recipient's payment stub.
What else contributes to the success of this piece? The personalization. Not only is the recipient's name printed throughout, but so is his town, which appears on the sticky note, on the donor slip and in the body of the letter, which reads:
"Your support, as well as the support of your friends and neighbors in the Reston area, has enabled us to commit more than $78 million to research into finding a better way to prevent, control and treat cancer."
Though he could not share specifics, Browning does report this mailing is an effective one for AICR, reiterating that the return on investment makes the sticky note worthwhile. "The note increased response and contributed [to] an increase in the net money available to programs raised from this mailing," he says.
Sharon R. Cole is a Philadelphia-based writer contributing to print-industry publications.