By Alan Sharpe, CFRE
When was the last time you agonized over what to put on your business reply envelope? If you’re like most non-profit organizations, your BRE never changes. You mail the same BRE with every direct mail fundraising letter. And you likely print your BREs in bulk to save on printing.
But maybe you should re-think the humble BRE.
The Canadian National Institute for the Blind obviously did. The CNIB, as it likes to be called, mailed an acquisition letter at the end of 2007 that included a unique BRE. The package that the BRE came in included a mailing envelope, letter, credit-card-size plastic magnifying glass, and a sheet of more than 100 return address labels. A premium with my name printed on it always gets my attention, but what really caught my eye in this package was the BRE.
In the upper left corner of the BRE, where you normally write your name and address, is a rectangular box the same size as the address labels included with the appeal. Printed inside this box is this imperative: “Use Your First Label Here!” That’s what I call a creative use of a BRE. Suddenly the boring BRE becomes an involvement device, and not a frivolous one, either, but an involvement device that encourages a donor to make a donation.
The CNIB even makes good use of the return address. Here’s what it says:
CNIB – SERVING YOUR COMMUNITY
DONATIONS PROCESSING CENTRE
PO BOX 32002 STN BRM B
TORONTO ON M7Y 5R2
As you can see, even the return address on your BRE gives you an opportunity to communicate with your donors and say something positive about the work you do and the people you help. I salute the folks at the CNIB for their creativity.
If you’d like to see what this BRE looks like, visit http://www.raisersharpe.com/z/cnib/
If you need help making your direct mail fundraising letters more creative, why not give me a call? That’s 1 877 742-7732.
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