Here’s a powerful way to get your envelope noticed and opened

Unclemaynardttdmk

After the call to action, the element of a direct mail piece that matters most for response is the outer envelope. If you want to move the needle in direct mail response, test changes to the envelope.

Here’s something to consider when you’re thinking about that envelope: copy and design are not the only elements you can work with. The envelope is a physical object, and you can change the physical properties of it, and that can be a very effective way to improve your fundraising results.

Let’s look at a few envelopes from Uncle Maynard’s Treasure Trove that do more than put ink on paper to stand out:

Textureparalyzedvets

The image on this Paralyzed Veterans of America mailing is pressed onto the paper. It may not look like much here, but in real life, it’s quite impressive and unusual. Stands out in the mail, and I bet it’s worth the additional cost.






Textureunicef

This envelope from United States Fund for UNICEF is oversized, a heavy stock, almost cardboard, with raised “blobs” all over it. We can be very sure there’s not anything else in the mailbox like it.






Texturesmiletrain

This envelope from Smile Train takes a different approach. The angel image and the copy to its right are “gold foil,” not brown as they appear in this scan. The gold is basically a special extra color of ink (a 5th color on this piece). Not cheap. But quite possibly worth the additional cost.






Texturecare

Texture can add meaningful cost to your mailing. Cost that may or may not be borne by the lift in response. That’s why it’s smart to seek less expensive ways of getting that extra push.

You can always fake a texture, as this mailing from CARE does. It looks like it has a cloth-like texture, but it’s just a pattern printed on the envelope. That’s not as stand-out as a real texture — but it’s a lot cheaper. It might be a good trade-off.

Bottom line: consider adding texture or other unique elements to make your envelopes pop out in the mail. And if you already have texture, you really should test fake texture to learn whether the extra costs carries its weight.

More from the Trove


Comments

4 responses to “Here’s a powerful way to get your envelope noticed and opened”

  1. Can someone explain this teaser to me? It says if you make one donation, they will never ask again. I’m going to assume that they are losing money or just breaking even on this acquisition piece. The real profit comes with the lifetime value of the donor. But if they never ask again, they are losing the LTV. Am I missing something?
    I’ve seen this teaser before on other pieces and there was nothing inside that helped clarify it (Like maybe signing up for monthly giving).

  2. Can someone explain this teaser to me? It says if you make one donation, they will never ask again. I’m going to assume that they are losing money or just breaking even on this acquisition piece. The real profit comes with the lifetime value of the donor. But if they never ask again, they are losing the LTV. Am I missing something?
    I’ve seen this teaser before on other pieces and there was nothing inside that helped clarify it (Like maybe signing up for monthly giving).

  3. Mary Penn Avatar
    Mary Penn

    There was a study done– I have the details somewhere– that showed that saying “If you make one donation we’ll never ask again” was highly successful.
    The way it works is that the reply piece includes the OPTION to check a box that would opt-out of future mailings. They do not have to donate, they can just opt-out. But the result is more donations, and people NOT opting-out. In other words just giving them the option stimulated more donations.

  4. Mary Penn Avatar
    Mary Penn

    There was a study done– I have the details somewhere– that showed that saying “If you make one donation we’ll never ask again” was highly successful.
    The way it works is that the reply piece includes the OPTION to check a box that would opt-out of future mailings. They do not have to donate, they can just opt-out. But the result is more donations, and people NOT opting-out. In other words just giving them the option stimulated more donations.

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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.

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