Paul Barbagallo

By Paul Barbagallo For nonprofit mailers, knowing what your donors want is paramount. That's why DOROT, a New York City-based charity providing Kosher meals to homebound Jewish elders in the tri-state area, tested, tested and tested some more—to pinpoint how best to attract new contributors. Its current #10 control package is simple in design and approach, and contains just three elements: a four-page letter, donor form and BRE. For all the flashy, four-color brochures and glossy inserts available, it often is the plain, white printed letter and outer envelope that carries the most impact—and costs the least—in the mailstream. "About five years ago,

By Paul Barbagallo For direct mail copywriting and creative team Paul E. Barry and Rosalie G. Barry, the objective set forth by the Air Force Association (AFA) in 1997 was a simple one: Craft a membership appeal to sell accident insurance to a decidedly military audience. The Barrys knew from prior experience in mailing to this demographic that a straightforward solicitation devoid of bells and whistles would win out over more elaborate package concepts. And, since the husband-wife tandem maintains a penchant for personalization, they opted to intersperse the recipient's name, military title, address, official membership number and response deadline date throughout

With Paul Barbagallo To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Inside Direct Mail, I asked industry experts to shed some light on the trends of today that will have the most impact on direct mail in the next 20 years and beyond. "The shift of purchasing onto the Internet. On one hand, it will produce added direct mail volume as Web sites continue to discover that it's a great tool to increase repeat visits from existing customers. And postal mailers will also continue to find more ways to use Web-acquired postal addresses profitably, leading to more mailable names. But at the

By Paul Barbagallo To inject more life into your direct mail control, sometimes you just have to think big. Not necessarily "big" in the literal sense, but big in terms of offer, creative and overall marketing strategy. When faced with the challenge of beating Trailer Life Books' long-term control mailing for its "Ten Minute Tech" roadside guide for recreational-vehicle enthusiasts, freelance copywriter Josh Manheimer did just that. Partnering with freelance designer Robert George, Manheimer created a #14 envelope package that indexed at 354 after an initial test in January 2003, and has been the control ever since. Before the book publisher enlisted

With Paul Barbagallo In June, freelance copywriter Robert Lerose was named "America's Greatest Thinker" after winning the 2004 Great American Think-Off competition in Minnesota. To enter, contestants submit a 750-word essay stating their position; four finalists are chosen, who then must argue their case in front of a live audience. This year's topic: "Should Same-Sex Marriages Be Prohibited?" Lerose was awarded the title and a check for $500. Lerose has scribed control packages for Institutional Investor, KCI Communications and Panel Publishers. He now pauses to reflect on his copywriting mentor, boring, product-centered copy and the lasting impression of Mother Jones. PB:

By Paul Barbagallo Whether you love them or hate them, front-end premium offers have long been a clever strategy for charities looking to lift response to their straight- appeal solicitations. Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate is one faith-based nonprofit that has realized—time and again—the potential of Freemiums. In April, Missionary Oblates mailed a 6" x 9", Mother's Day-themed envelope effort that included a four-color, three-dimensional cardboard altar (609MIOBMI0404B). The altar freebie, akin to something one might find in a pop-up book, is visible through a 31/2" x 51/2" poly window on the back of the outer with the accompanying teaser: "Remember 'mother' in

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