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Category Archives: Non-profit

How not to localize direct mail

Your personalization vendor has a great idea: add variable fields to localize direct mail by mentioning the reader’s geographical location. This is especially effective if you’re a national brand and you want to connect with prospects on a grassroots level. Hence this month’s example from the Salvation Army: The biggest problem with this effort is […]

Then and now: Planned Giving with the Salvation Army

25 years ago I wrote a planned giving direct mail program for the Salvation Army. I recently received the current rendition of the same ask, and it was fascinating to see what has changed and what hasn’t. I’ve reproduced the letters from the two packages, which contain the key message, and you can read them […]

American Red Cross blood donation marketing could use a shot in the arm

A family member died from a blood disease, so I’m sensitive to the importance of blood donations. I had not given in far too long when I stopped into an American Red Cross trailer a few weeks ago and donated a pint plus platelets. The techs warn you at the time there’s no guarantee your […]

Why too many good ideas can sink your direct marketing campaign

It’s great that you are brimming over with good ideas. Unfortunately, your prospect is not nearly as enchanted with your creativity as you are. They’ll sit still for one powerful marketing statement, perhaps supported by a call to action subhead, then it’s off to the deleted messages folder or the recycling bin. When you put […]

Stage management in your direct mail package

Direct mail has a unique benefit, compared to other direct marketing media: the opportunity for stage management. You can control the user experience by the way you design the components and deliver your message. You can decide what your user will see first when they open the envelope (which is why you should always give […]

Salvation Army shows the perils of localized donor mail

I gave a fair-sized gift to my local Salvation Army this past holiday season, and was happy to do so. (I wanted a particularly enthusiastic bell ringer to get credit, so I found out his name, wrote it on the check, and dropped it off at the local center.) Inevitably, this has spawned a series […]

Who else wants to see their FICO score? (and other mailbox mysteries)

This credit card promo from Chase caused me to fire up the mailbox monitor. The premise is that you get a free monthly FICO report with the Chase Slate card. My household has been carpet bombed with these packages recently, both my wife and I receiving multiple mailings sometimes on the same day. There are […]

Instead of protecting trees, Sierra Club turns them into advertising

John Muir must be spinning in his grave like a lamb on a campfire rotisserie. The organization he founded to “preserve the forests and other natural features” of the California Sierra Nevada Mountains has, in its most recent prospecting mailer, delivered a set of five two-panel note cards (complete with mailing envelopes) that must have […]

Does “made you look” strategy work for fundraisers?

I got a Christmas card this week from Chris Thomas—or so I thought. I was intrigued by the seasonal address sticker and wondered who I knew in El Segundo, a community near LAX notorious for its predatory speed traps. I opened it up…and there was the familiar tent card invitation from DirecTV, which indeed has […]

What we can learn from college solicitation direct mail

My son is a high school junior who recently took the PSAT, so he’s receiving a ton of prospecting mail from colleges. The other night we went through a stack of these direct mail packs, and it was interesting to see his reactions. There was a lot of good stuff. Overall, the colleges did a […]

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