I have on my desk a direct mail fundraising envelope that I have never opened. And never will. Perhaps you can learn a lesson from its failings.
The offending article was mailed by the Canadian Red Cross. It is a full-colour envelope, 6.5 inches wide and 5.75 inches tall, with a window. The envelope promotes the organization’s lottery.
This envelope fails most of the tests in my book.
Test #1: Does the envelope intrigue?
No. This envelope gives everything away. It features no fewer than six photos: a sports car, sailboats, a bunch $100 bills, the Coliseum in Rome, another sports car, and the Taj Mahal. You get the picture. You don’t have to guess at the contents of the envelope.
The headlines are equally blunt:
“More prizes!. . . More Choice than ever before!”
“Big prizes! Big cause!”
“The big red. The New Ontario Lottery!”
This envelope fails the test of intrigue. Outer envelopes must intrigue readers to open them, not give everything away.
Test #2: Does the envelope appeal to noble motivations?
No. This envelope appeals to greed and covetousness. Those are short-term motivators. People who give you a donation in exchange for a chance to win a mansion or Mercedes Benz are not supporting your mission. They are not embracing your cause.
Test #3: Does the envelope give the reader a reason not to open it?
Yes. This envelope gives you two reasons to throw it away unopened. One is a phone number: “Call NOW to order tickets 1 800 850 5090.” Another is a website: http://www.redcrosslottery.ca. If all you want your recipient to do is phone you or visit your website, mail them a postcard, not a letter.
Your outer envelope has two goals only. Deliver your package contents intact. And persuade the donor to open your envelope. Don’t give yourself away. And don’t send the donor somewhere else.
To see a large sample of this envelope, visit www.raisersharpe.com/z/redcross.htm.
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