I hate and admire this scammy direct mail envelope

Not fundraising, but classic direct response mail.

There’s a lot going on here, most of it meaning little or nothing.

Busyenvelope

It looks “important,” and it stands out with all its empty bluster.

I bet it does well, despite the ridiculous, scammy thing it’s selling: an employment regulations poster, the kind required to be posted at workplaces, for $120. The poster that’s available for free from the government.

Every direct mail envelope has just one job: to get opened.

Not to be clever.

Not to be beautiful.

Not to make it completely clear what’s inside.

Just to get opened.

And weirdness like this often works.

I once created an envelope that had nothing on it but a big messy-looking rubber-stamp style teaser: LETTER ENCLOSED. We had to fight to keep it against the logicians who said it made no sense. They were right.

But it was a top performer.

Find your own weirdness when you create direct mail envelopes.


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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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