Tutorial 1: creating fundraising letters and packages

Simplicity is the most complex of all

Written by
Jerry Huntsinger
Added
March 01, 2010

Here’s a simple way of looking at the purpose of a direct mail fundraising package.

  • The outer/carrier envelope: the purpose is to get it ripped open with as much anticipation as possible. Nothing else.
  • The letter: the purpose is to get the reader involved long enough and interested enough to make a positive decision. Nothing else.
  • The reply device: the purpose is to provide a practical way for the donor to post the gift. Nothing else.
  • The enclosure: the purpose is to increase net income. Nothing else.
  • Donor list segmentation: the purpose is to allow you to ask the right donor for the right amount. Nothing else.
  • Personalisation: the purpose is to make the donor feel good about herself. Nothing else.
  • Premiums: the purpose is to increase net profit by putting something irresistible in the donor’s hand. Nothing else.
  • Postage: the purpose is to get the letter delivered to the donor’s home at an appropriate speed and appropriate cost. Nothing else.

If you approach all this in such a simple fashion, then your focus is going to be very precise. Your donor will know exactly what the problem is, how much money you are asking for, and what you are going to do with that money.

Start keeping fundraising appeals that come to your home. You’ll notice that some packages are repeated over and over again. These are the winners, the control packages. Notice how simple they are.

© SOFII Foundation 2010-2014.

About the author: Jerry Huntsinger

Jerry Huntsinger

Jerry Huntsinger is revered in direct marketing circles as the dean of direct mail. 

Some years back Jerry gifted his archive of direct mail tutorials to SOFII and we’ve been serialising them ever since. All 50-plus are gems. Together, they add up to complete ‘how-to’ guide to everything you need to know about direct mail fundraising.

These tutorials are edited and presented by Gwen Chapman.

Gwen Chapman is a passionate advocate for donor-centric fundraising. She is a senior consultant with international experience in the non-profit sector in Canada, the United States, the UK and South Africa.

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