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Getting Them To Open The Envelope

There are only so many ways you can differentiate your piece from the stack in a recipient’s mailbox. You’ve probably tried many of them - odd sizes, paper stocks, graphic designs, teaser copy – all, with varying degrees of success. Graphic design and teaser copy can work well, but only if you are in touch with your audience’s taste and interests. Changing paper stocks and sizes have always been effective ways to catch a reader’s eye but they are still no guarantee for success.

So what do you try next?

The nonprofit sector is going gaga over freemiums (with static cling decals topping the list). The cost of these enclosures vary depending on size, complexity of design, color work and other variables but new printing technologies are making them cheaper to produce, and more feasible for shorter-run mailings. And, they work!

Will YOUR readers respond? There are some mailers who say that while personalized enclosures may drive up response rates, they often lower average gifts, and respondents brought in by “gimmicks” are less likely to renew. That may be so, but you can often offset this effect with great follow-up programs: create a great welcome package for new donors and ask them for additional gifts. The sooner you can raise their giving level, the better chance you have of making them permanent supporters of your institution.

Some recipients of direct mail freemium packages assume the mailer intends to “guilt” them into giving. (Unfortunately, some mailers do feel that way!) The guilt factor may motivate some donors, but don’t lose sight of the freemium’s role: Getting the envelope opened. The cost for these enclosures, then, is the cost of getting your envelope opened. Once opened, it’s up to your message and your offer to move the recipient to action.

Paul Barry

by Paul Barry
President Emeritus and Strategist, Perrone Group

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