No more Santa, please!
If there is any chance that your supporters will receive mail from you in the coming weeks with references to holiday giving, PULL THE PROJECT NOW! (Yes, I’m yelling in ALL CAPS!) I don’t care what else is in the newsletter or the direct mail package, if you are referring to Christmas or end-of-year giving in any way, do not mail it.
I have received two pieces of mail like this in the last week. One was a newsletter from a social service agency asking people to include the organization in their end-of-year giving plans and to remember loved ones by purchasing ornaments on an “Angel Tree” at the hospital. That tree was turned into mulch weeks ago. The second one was from a humane society, complete with photos of homeless pets in Santa hats, with puppy dog eyes pleading for a home for the holidays. I’d rather not think about what happened to those animals.
I know print projects get stuck in the pipeline. It happens to all of us and it is really frustrating. You can blame your printer or the mail house, but the result is the same: your supporters will see the holiday references, chuck the whole thing, and wonder what the heck is wrong with you.
If someone with solid direct mail experience wants to explain to me how Christmas references received the fourth week of January still work on donors, I’m all ears. But until then, I say pull the job, regardless of how much time and money have already been invested. If it really is your printer or mail house’s fault, and not just your rushed scheduling, talk to them about credits to your account. Otherwise, eat the cost. Consider it the price of preserving your reputation with supporters and of learning the hard way to pad your publishing schedule. It’s always better to be a little too early than way too late.