Against the Odds
The letter follows that with the case for support ("Throughout their lives, through no fault of their own they face trauma and barriers that they alone may not be able to overcome"), backs up the case for support by listing how the organization can help and then closes with the ask ("Mother's Day is just around the corner! Why not take a minute to make an investment of $35, $50, $100, $500 or more in recognition of young mothers who are working hard to become self sufficient and to break intergenerational cycles of destructive behaviors and relationships").
The letter's tone conveys palpable authenticity. Adding to that is a sidebar that tells how Crittenton helped a young woman break the cycles of abuse and poverty in her family and includes a photo of Charese and her daughter, now a teenager herself.
Pai-Espinosa developed the reply device, as well, which ties in to the rest of the mailing thanks to a quote by Dr. Kate Waller Barrett from 1904 related to motherhood: "A little child! What wonderful potentialities lie within those words. In the hands of our children lies the future ... Let us give them every chance ..." The combined reply/BRE format is simple and a great low-cost option.
Though the mailing only consists of two main internal elements, the organization's URL is listed four times. It's listed twice on the back page of the letter: once within the ask and in the P.S. It was a very conscious effort on the organization's part.
"We're working hard to really understand how social networking and online interaction and access to information should affect not only your fundraising but your communication," Pai-Espinosa says. "This means understanding and having faith that somebody who gets a letter like ours, if they're interested, will go to the Web and find us. And they can find all of our agencies and more stories, too. So rather than including a list of agencies and including this and including that, we focus on getting their attention and driving them to our website."