The Denny Hatch Archive


Denny Hatch isn’t a fundraiser. He’s an author, former businessman and army veteran. But with his expertise of marketing and advertising, his opinions and thoughts will be a treasure trove of knowledge that fundraisers can draw upon to make their campaigns better and more appealing to donors. We are incredibly grateful to Denny for letting us reproduce his wealth of blogposts on SOFII. 

From friend of SOFII Roger Craver: 

‘My Personal Pantheon of Great Fundraising Creative Curmudgeons is currently limited to three. (Those offended by not being included — yet — are simply too young). My three: Jerry Huntsinger, the late George Smith and Denny Hatch.

Why Denny Hatch?  Because he’s not only a great copywriter, he’s a great copywriter with a penchant for analysis, the ability to deliver that analysis based on 40 years’ experience and the detailed review of literally tens of thousands of direct mail packages.

Denny’s analysis is far from dull. It’s both truthful and inspiring. No wonder in commenting on Denny’s classic Million Dollar Mailings: the art and science of creating money-making direct mail exclaimed, "This remarkable book has inspired me to revive my life-long crusade to extricate the direct mail fraternity from the ghetto to which they have always been confined by the advertising generalists."

For 30 years my friend Denny monitored the testing and rollout of thousands of direct mail packages –including fundraising appeals—through his unique service Who’s Mailing What? Tracking, archiving and sharing winning control packages across the commercial and nonprofit sectors.

Good copy is not like this year’s latest fashion. Rather, it reflects in a proven and effective way the message and values that have motivated donors and triggered responses year after year.  So, as Denny often reminded me, when someone in the office says, “We’ve already used that, let’s get something new”, remember there’s not a single donor out there who says, “Oh, here’s that same old year-end appeal.”

If you want to know whether to treasure or trash a piece of copy or an entire package, the best advice I can give is “learn from Denny Hatch” and you won’t go wrong.’

Roger Craver, Editor, The Agitator

Welcome to the Denny Hatch Archive!

Direct marketing copy and the amazing power of fear

by Denny Hatch

Can fear be a primary motivating factor in direct mail? Denny Hatch certainly thinks so. In this blog Denny not only explains why, he also illustrates the point by analysing two remarkable letters.

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Two of the greatest fundraising letters ever written

by Denny Hatch

In this fascinating article, marketing giant Denny Hatch presents two of the greatest fundraising letters of all time, and explains the complex, sometimes murky, story of how they came about.

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by Denny Hatch

Denny Hatch brings us an extraordinary checklist that everyone involved in fundraising and marketing communication should run through before putting pen to paper.

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The most successful advertisement in the history of the world

by Denny Hatch

What is the most successful advertisement ever? Legendary marketing expert Denny Hatch tells all and there’s so much fundraisers can learn from this.

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Major contributors to this section

Denny Hatch

After graduating from Columbia University in 1958, I was drafted into the U.S. army for a two-year stint. I loved it! It was the peacetime army and I acquired skills that lasted me throughout my career: writing press releases; writing, producing and narrating a documentary for the New York Army Reserve; and writing and editing a classical music series for radio station WXQR in New York.

Following the army, I had nine jobs in twelve years in business. I was fired from five of them. Later I went on to save two business and start three others. One of the businesses - the Who's Mailing What? newsletter and archive service founded in 1984 - revolutionised the science of how to measure the success of direct mail. Over the years I have been a publicist, magazine publisher, book club director, agency account executive, copywriter, designer, editor, journalist and marketing consultant. 

In my spare time I wrote four published novels and seven books on business and marketing.

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