Helene Vallone

Melissa Ward is the managing editor for Target Marketing, and she has opinions! More importantly, she's a nerd for great copy and design, a disciple of authenticity, and really loves it when marketers get it right.

A growing number of charities across the USA are taking a nickel-and-dime approach to encourage donations by mail, despite some evidence that including coins in solicitations turns off potential donors. Paul Bobnak, director for "Who's Mailing What!" a service that collects data on direct mail operations, says the company's records show the use of coins in charity mailings is increasing this year after several years of decline.

It's difficult not to hear about mail volume decreasing and the USPS taking a serious blow to the ribs; information of this nature populates news stories, blog posts and sometimes watercooler discussions—depending on in which office the particular watercooler is located. But it's not doom and gloom for everyone, especially those direct marketers who have taken the direct mail channel by the horns and used it to their advantage.

What a difference a year makes. With the U.S. Postal Service reporting mail volume on the decline to the tune of billions of pieces, it comes as no surprise that the 2009 Top 50 Mailers list is greatly changed from its 2008 counterpart.

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