Oops. Two disclosures:
1) Testing tells us with high certainty WHICH techniques work in the mail. Testing NEVER tells us WHY they work. Frustrating at time. Still doesn’t prevent us from speculating though, eh?
2) I know that I’m not a typical mail donor. Far from it. And I really do know better than to generalize from my own experience. Still, I have to be self-aware when and why I make donations by mail.
That said, while cutting and mailing two checks this morning, I speculated about what sparked those particular gifts, each triggered by a particular mail fundraising technique.
– With the Sierra Club, the envelope was clearly labeled “Reactivate your membership” … I’d been inactive for quite some time. The proposition was standard for this organization, including some kind of branded tote bag with a gift of some modest amount, and an offer of a “discounted” annual membership rate, making the threshold yet more modest. I’m sifting through package elements, scanning as I go, then notice on the reply “Member Since: 1994″. That stopped my paper shuffling and made me consider: “Yep, I used to consider myself a Sierra Club person.” It was a while ago, but it was also for a fair number of years! Time to re-up. That one technique got my attention at the right moment, made me consider the action and take it.
– With Amnesty International, the technique was address labels. Amnesty has used address labels for many years, but they were always (so far as I know) black and white, with their candle/barbed wire log next to my name and address. THIS package had brightly colored, cheerful labels showing through the window in the outer envelope. (Showing through was obviously critical here, always a good idea.) Apart from the labels, the package was standard for Amnesty, I believe their control: Great letter with mission urgency, window decal, note to sign and send to a prisoner of conscience. Plus a branded tote bag, which I hadn’t notice in prior packages, but I haven’t been attending to Amnesty mail as much as I should, I guess.
Techniques get donors to stop shuffling and take a look at the rest of the package. The “Member Since” hooked my once I was in the package, buying readership in other elements of the kit.
These bright address labels actually did the harder job: getting me to stop shuffling envelopes, open this one and take a look at the contents. That’s the #1 reason for to use a technique in your mail fundraising: Get the envelope opened! Once that major objective was achieved, the rest of the control could do its proven job.