Tax Info Consumers Won't Grunt About
By the time this issue goes to print, many consumers will be running to the bank to cash their tax refund checksthat well-deserved lump sum perhaps anted up by Uncle Sam for a year's worth of generous charitable contributions.
One nonprofit, women's rights advocacy group, Global Fund for Women, opted to feed off the hazy, crazy days of tax season with a #10 outer envelope donor solicitation mailing that features the teaser: "Important: 2002 Tax Information" (605GLFUWO0203).
Surprisingly enough, there is, in fact, "important tax information" in the package.
What makes this effort unique is that inside on a folded 3-1/2" x 8-1/2" donation form, Global Fund for Women has indicated how much the recipient gave the previous year.
"This is the first time Global Fund for Women has done this particular mailing and concept for its direct mail," says Gwen Chapman, senior vice president, Mal Warwick & Associates, a full-service fund-raising company that championed the mailing. "We wanted to be sure to position [the effort] in keeping with the way Global Fund for Women feels about their donors. They're very donor-centric. They work hard at making donors happy."
According to Chapman, two versions of this mailing were dropped to suit Global Fund for Women's different donor segments.
Monthly and lower-end donors received not only the top portion specifying their 2002 contributions, but also a bottom portion which is customized based on how much they give on a monthly basis. That section, akin to
traditional donor cards, gives them the option to make a New Year's resolution in 2003 by upgrading their monthly gift, says Chapman.
This segment also received a one-page, hand-written-looking letter devoid of personalization. It leads off in blue ink with the headline: "Thank You for Your Support."
"We felt that by doing the hand-written style it would make it feel more personal, even though it wasn't a personalized letter," says Chapman.
Many contributors just received the top portion of the insert, Chapman shares, and they are what Global Fund for Women classifies as "once-a-year donors" and "major donors"those who only wish to be solicited once a year, and those who gave sums in excess of $5,000, respectively. This segment also received a slightly modified letter with donors' names lasered in.
"The big challenge in sending out a mailing like this is you have to be confident that you are tabulating all the gifts that the donor made during the course of a year," says Chapman. "Otherwise, you will be inundated with calls from donors, imploring, 'That's not what I gave you.'"
In the spirit of donor communication, Chapman says that Global Fund for Women did encourage donors to call if the nonprofit's records were inaccurate. For example, the letter reads:
... I hope that the enclosed receipt for your 2002 gifts to the Global Fund for Women will be useful to you as you prepare your 2002 tax return. If our records are in error, please contact Lanell ...
"We're still getting results in, but we've covered the cost of the mailing already," Chapman says.