Tutorial 23: beware the fatal disease of one-sidedness.

If you are afraid of the second page of a fundraising letter, then you suffer from a not-so-rare disease called ‘one-sidedness’.

Written by
Jerry Huntsinger
Added
February 06, 2019

This disease can prevent you from fulfilling your career ambitions, but you can be cured. The disease is rarely fatal unless you are just too stubborn to submit to prescribed therapy and treatment.

One-sidedness is an affliction that prevents the writer from ever discovering that a piece of paper has two sides, a front and a back.

Furthermore, a person with one-sidedness is simply unable to create material that will be printed on the back of the sheet. Usually, to rationalise the effects of the disease, the writer believes that ‘a donor will only read a one-page letter’, or ‘a donor will not turn a letter over and read the second page’, or ‘our donors much prefer short, quick and to-the-point letters’.

Also, a writer suffering from one-sidedness is unable to write more than one page, even if the second page is on another page of paper.

Sadly, this disease takes its toll among writers, and those suffering from one-sidedness rarely become successful or last very long in a creative writing job.

Finally, one-sidedness has rather disastrous side effects. A person with one-sidedness usually chooses a small typeface. Since he or she is unable to turn the page over, and the letter must be completed on the front side, reducing type size seems to be a logical solution.

It’s so sad to see the brain twisted in such an abnormal way.

Crowded margins are another disastrous side effect. Also, one-sidedness does not give you enough space to develop and carry out a strong copy platform.

Is there any cure for a person suffering from one-sidedness? Yes, but the victims are unusually resistive.

This disease is most often found in small organisations. They lack the budget to send their writers to seminars where the back of the letter can be discovered; and they lack the budget to engage in testing the use of the back of the letter.

Consequently, there is little or no hope that they will ever be cured. And sadly, if you confront them with evidence of their disease they will resent you. They live in a world of denial. Often they will burst into tears, ‘I’m doing the best I can. Just leave me alone.’

It’s just best to leave them alone. Medication or even hospitalisation will not help them. But the disease is not genetic and it cannot be transferred from one person to another through kissing or handshaking.

So, if you are not yet afflicted with one-sidedness go right on writing copy for more than one page. You are not in any danger. When the occasion is appropriate, and a one-page letter is required, go ahead, do it. The disease will not attack you.

© 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 a 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.jpg#asset:8990:urlGwen 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. She explains the importance to these tutorials here.

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