Organization finds a Donor of the Year

Unclemaynardttdmk

Here’s something cool from Uncle Maynard’s Treasure Trove of Direct Mail Knowledge.

Check out this large carrier envelope (it measures 11 x 6 inches):





DonorofyearOE

It’s from Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV). Most of the package is dedicated to a sweepstakes, a fundraising tactic I don’t approve of and never recommend. But if I were wearing a hat, I’d take it off to everything else about this package.

The boldness of the proclamation is wonderful. All these guys know about Uncle Maynard is that he shows up on lists of donors. If you think about it, that makes him special. HHV says very special.

The letter inside starts like this:

As you may know, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are over 300 million people in America. Unfortunately, just a fraction of those citizens have cared enough to donate to worthwhile causes, time and again.

However, according to our records, you, Mr. Maynard _, are one of the unselfish ones. A person who was kind enough to give back to those less fortunate, to a cause of great importance. As such a person, you have earned our respect and recognition as
A WASHINGTON Donor of the Year

In honor of this recognition, we have enclosed a special certificate for you to frame and hang on a wall in your Seattle, Washington home. Look on it with pride.

Enjoy it in good health!

A lot of organizations would be unable to take the next step, because somebody would say, “Yes, but there are thousands of people on those lists!” As if that diminishes the significance of Uncle Maynard’s generosity.

“But surely the donors will know that they’re just one of many thousands!” They may or may not. That’s not what matters. The important things are whether it gets their attention and makes them feel good.

Here’s the certificate:

Donorofyearcertificate

(Yes, that’s an attached gold-foil seal on there!)

This probably seems over-the-top. In a way, it is. But let me tell you this: It’s probably not possible to over-praise your donors. (Unless you tell lies about them.)

What I love about this package is that it understands one of the most important but most often ignored rules of fundraising: It’s about the donor, not about your organization.

More from the Trove


Comments

6 responses to “Organization finds a Donor of the Year”

  1. Peter Gorbert Avatar
    Peter Gorbert

    While these are all very nice examples of direct mail, I can’t help but wonder if these are failed examples. Did Mr Maynard give you all of the direct mail unopened? in which case none of it had an impact and your comments about how well it works are seriously hampered.

  2. Peter Gorbert Avatar
    Peter Gorbert

    While these are all very nice examples of direct mail, I can’t help but wonder if these are failed examples. Did Mr Maynard give you all of the direct mail unopened? in which case none of it had an impact and your comments about how well it works are seriously hampered.

  3. Picked a pitiful non-profit to highlight, read on: On August 9, 2012, the California Attorney General “filed a civil lawsuit seeking the removal of officers and directors of Help Hospitalized Veterans, a California charity. The complaint alleges that those running the organization engaged in self-dealing, paid excessive executive compensation and engaged in fraudulent fundraising and other unlawful activities. The lawsuit also seeks to recover more than $4.3 million in funds improperly diverted from Help Hospitalized Veterans. Those funds were meant to support several programs serving veterans and active-duty military, including providing arts and craft kits to hospitalized veterans. Instead, they were used to enrich the organization’s officers and fundraisers.”

  4. Picked a pitiful non-profit to highlight, read on: On August 9, 2012, the California Attorney General “filed a civil lawsuit seeking the removal of officers and directors of Help Hospitalized Veterans, a California charity. The complaint alleges that those running the organization engaged in self-dealing, paid excessive executive compensation and engaged in fraudulent fundraising and other unlawful activities. The lawsuit also seeks to recover more than $4.3 million in funds improperly diverted from Help Hospitalized Veterans. Those funds were meant to support several programs serving veterans and active-duty military, including providing arts and craft kits to hospitalized veterans. Instead, they were used to enrich the organization’s officers and fundraisers.”

  5. To Peter: Interestingly, nearly every piece in the Trove came to me already opened. Uncle Maynard is serious about his mail! There is one type that’s usually not opened, and I’ll be posting about that soon.
    To Sue: That is completely sad. I hope that if they are guilty they get the book thrown at them and people go to jail. That doesn’t mean their marketing doesn’t have something to teach us, though.

  6. To Peter: Interestingly, nearly every piece in the Trove came to me already opened. Uncle Maynard is serious about his mail! There is one type that’s usually not opened, and I’ll be posting about that soon.
    To Sue: That is completely sad. I hope that if they are guilty they get the book thrown at them and people go to jail. That doesn’t mean their marketing doesn’t have something to teach us, though.

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.