Worth Considering: Go long! (with long letters)

Worth Considering from Matt HuggEver notice what people say is often very different than what they do? What seems logical and “intuitive” can be completely wrong. In fundraising you only need to look as far as the mailbox.

Time and time again, from volunteers and staff alike, I hear the mantra “I don’t have time to read a long letter.” Yet my experience and other direct mail experts will tell you, long letters can get results – especially in “acquisition” mailings, when you want to attract someone as a new donor.

Think of it this way. When you meet someone for the first time, do you say “let me make this short and to the point: give me money”? No, you have a talk about your mission and why they should take part. You paint a picture of your organization’s vision for a better world. You invite them to join you in the cause.

But who has time to read all of that?

You do. I do. They do…if it’s important to them. Each of us makes space in our day for issues that are important to us – in our jobs, our families, our dreams for a better world. If you’re mailing to the right people – the ones that have an affinity for your cause, they will read.

Of course you make the reading easy for them. You use bullets, you bold and underline worlds, and you write in an engaging manner.

Of course, I’m biased. Writing letters – short or long – is my work. I would be happy to write letters for you and your cause. But more than that, your success is my success, so if a longer letter gets more donors and more dollars – that’s great for both of us.

So once in a while – go long.

Lumpy Direct Mail Fundraising Letters Get Opened!

Lumpy is good, really!

It’s winter and you’re concerned about your weight. Okay, it’s winter and I’m concerned about my weight. Weighing more can be unhealthy and can cost you more – in clothes, food and even medical expenses. Besides, being lumpy won’t do when it’s time to shed the layers of clothing this spring.

But it’s different in direct mail. While slimmer direct mail costs less money, it may not result in more gifts for your nonprofit. Lumpy can actually improve your fundraising.

Remember the last time you got a fundraising letter that had something in it you could feel besides paper. It grabbed your curiosity, didn’t it, even if you could tell what was inside. Maybe it was a pen? Maybe it was a penny? But you had to open it! Since a major accomplishment in direct mail is just getting the letter opened, lumpy paid off.

So once in a while indulge your direct mail, and make it lumpy… your fundraising results will thank you.

…Matt