Ultimate Check Mailing
One of the most innovative uses of a live check in a direct mailing comes from the nonprofit organization, Help Hospitalized Veterans, which supplies craft kits to hospitalized veterans to help with their rehabilitation and to make their stays more enjoyable.
If we count the prior versions of this packageand we willthis mailing qualifies as an Axel Andersson Award winner, after being in the mail since at least 1999. The most recent version we received is a #10 envelope package that puts to good use the advantages of inline production with multiple instances of personalization (604HEHOVE0801).
For starters, the four-page letter features special personalized messages in red, to stand out from the black, green and red holiday theme. The strongest application is that of printing the recipient's name at the bottom of a long list of famous "friends" of the charity, which include Burt Bacharach, Bruce Jenner and Willard Scott.
The recipient's name is printed in red and circled in black, with an arrow that points to the handwritten note, "You are as important as our list of celebrity friends." Help Hospitalized Veterans accomplishes two important goals with this extra touch: 1) get the recipient's attention; and 2) flatter him or her beyond belief!
The letter wisely gets right to the point of the check's existence. President and Founder Roger Chapin explains that the check is being used to get the recipient's attention, since the charity cannot afford to give money away when it needs donations to help the veterans. It's an ingenious move, because who would feel good about taking money from a charity?
At the same time, it's a live check that someone would feel strange about throwing in the trash. To solve the conflict, the recipient might be moved to return the check with a donation.
The check itself is the top panel in a three-panel form that includes the donation slip and a holiday card to sign and return for delivery to a veteran. Help Hospitalized Veterans lets the recipient know that she can return the check and a donation, but remove the card if she doesn't want to sign it. Or, she can simply send the card back alonebut again, it's more likely the recipient will add a donation to the reply envelope.
Another fascinating element is the tie-in with George Washington. This former president and general is mentioned several times in the letter as a veteran and courageous leader, and a bust of Washington is featured in the upper-right corner of the check. How could you look this founding father in the eye, and then cash the check?
Rounding out the package is an outer envelope and a CRE. The outer envelope is void of copy, except for the line, "Your Check Enclosed." A small window allows a glimpse of the check background, so the recipient could verify that there is a check inside. The CRE features one last shot of personalization, dropping a thank-you message in red script below the story and photo of a veteran who benefits from the kit deliveries.
Help Hospitalized Veterans told us the mailing was created by its agency, American Target Advertising.