Tuto­r­i­al 1: Cre­at­ing fundrais­ing let­ters and packages

Sim­plic­i­ty is the most com­plex of all.

Written by
Jerry Huntsinger
February 28, 2019

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 was revered in direct marketing circles as the ‘dean of direct mail’. Many years ago, Jerry gifted his archive of direct mail tutorials to SOFII. All 57 of them are gems. Together, they add up to a complete ‘how-to’ guide that covers everything you need to know about direct mail fundraising. Sadly, Jerry passed away in August 2023. 

These tutorials were edited and presented to SOFII by Gwen Chapman. Gwen 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. She explains the importance of these tutorials here.

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