How do you send out your print donor newsletter? Is it a self-mailer or do you use an envelope?
When Tom Ahern joined us for the Donor Newsletters That Raise More Money e-clinic last September he caused a little bit of a ruckus with something he said during our first training webinar, The Formula for Success.
He was discussing a Seattle fundraising shop called the Domain Group who tested every component of newsletters and then developed a formula that made a donor newsletter HIGHLY worth doing. (You can read more about The Domain Formula in Tom’s blog post from last Fall.)
One aspect of the formula is using an envelope instead of a self-mailer. One participant asked:
Why no self-mailers? It seems counter-intuitive to stick it in an envelope since you don’t have a chance to catch their eye with a good back-page story. What’s the logic?
Tom’s reply . . .
Logic? In direct mail? I wish. I’m not sure even Domain knew the “real” reason why self-mailers did poorly in tests. They suspected that a self-mailer had, and I quote, “low perceived value.” What they knew for sure from testing was this: when their charity clients sent self-mailers, income (i.e., checks sent back in response) plummeted. When they sent the very same newsletter in a #10 envelope, income was strong.
Do any of these other features of the formula surprise you?
- Page count: no more than 4 pages (in tests, adding more pages did not produce more revenue)
- Article length: short
- Write for skimmers (i.e., requires professional quality headlines)
- Send in a #10 envelope, not as a self-mailer
- Include a separate reply device
- Don’t get distracted: be fully donor-committed. Send only to your donors. You have to talk to a single target audience
- Make the voice personal (the word “you” dominates) rather than institutional; get intimate
- Focus on “accomplishment reporting” (tell donors how much they have changed the world through their gifts)
Tom will be leading another session of the Donor Newsletters That Raise More Money e-clinic this May and dispelling myths and misconceptions about print newsletters. This two-week e-clinic includes over five hours of training and coaching, including one-on-one time with Tom while he provides feedback on your print newsletter’s lead article, headline and deck.
Only 24 nonprofits can participate and several seats are already spoken for, so claim your spot now and learn how to raise more money with your print newsletter.