Wacky envelopes work in fundraising

Just got this piece in the mail from the ACLU:

GreenOE

We are not a recent donors to the ACLU, so this is donor acquisition. And I’m quite sure I’ve seen this before a number of times, but with a key difference:

It has been a “normal” envelope color, a light brown we usually call manila.

Now it’s shockingly, almost sickeningly, bright green! Who does that? Where do you even get envelopes that color?

And why are they doing this?

My guess: Because the new crazy color does better than the old normal color.

It’s one of those dependable direct-mail truths: If you want to improve response, weird up the envelope! The more improbable and unusual, the better. It’s such an easy way to do better, I’m surprised it’s not done more often.

(I once had a dream that I created a direct mail piece in a triangular envelope. I bet that would work like gangbusters. Unfortunately, the US Postal Service has regulations for what is acceptable at normal postal rates. No triangles!)

Raise more money with wacky envelopes. (And if anyone from the ACLU with inside knowledge about this project is reading this, let us know in the comments!)

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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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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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