I promised to provide very practical advice. Here’s a quick tip that will improve virtually all your written communications: fold your letters so the donor names shows up when they open the envelope.
This simple technique is powerful.
Studies and experience show that if people open an envelope, they’re looking for their name. So let’s make it really easy for them to find. Just about every nonprofit uses mail to fundraise. But I’m shocked by how few charities actually examine their fundraising letters and the “package” they send.
So often, the mail I get doesn’t even have my name! It’s just a “Dear friend” photocopied sheet. But even if it does have my name, it’s amazing how many times it’s folded in a way that makes me work to see it. The classic “c fold” buries my name. Worse, if it’s printed on both sides, I see the back before I see the front.
Presumably, you put the information on the front because it was most important. But that’s not what I see with this fold.
An easy way to overcome all this is the “z fold.” Folding a letter like this allows the donors name to be the first thing she sees. This provides a sense of relief. “Ah, this is for me.” And leads to the question, “I wonder what it’s about.”
I always use a z fold. To be even more practical, I insert the letter so that the address if facing the back of the envelope. Why? Most of us will turn the envelope over when opening it.
Simple. Practical. Effective. Who could ask for more? 🙂
After spending two hours of signing and folding pledge reminders today, I thought I’d share with you my love of the “z-fold.”
This is a great tip. I’m preparing a mail out now and am using the Z fold, with the fold right under the person’s name. I also added a text box with a quote to the right side of the inside address. This makes use of the white space that is normally to the right of the address. It does relate to the actual content of the letter though so it’s not just fluff. 🙂
What a terrific way to draw people in to the letter!
Great tip, Marc. We often post about how to write letters, and tips for better content, but I have to say, I’ve never thought about folding as having a big impact. Yet it makes so much sense!
This is a popular technique used in business resumes to stand out from the crowd and keep the applicant’s name on the top. The same is true for a nonprofit! We want to keep our names at the top of the page, and quickly draw people into our opening comments… not catch their eye 1/2 way on the back of the page.
Also like Sandra’s use of the white space for a relevant quote. This is a popular place to include an action photo showcasing your ‘need’ or your ongoing work.
Great comment, Danielle!
Not sure where I learned it but maybe it was resumes! (Although I think it was a former boss who had a good eye for detail!)
Maybe I’m old fashioned but I remember being taught this when I was a child (over 40 years ago) and I was taught it because of 1) my Dad’s business and 2) school fundraisers. However, for the “new kids on the block’ its a good leason and for us “old kids” its a good reminder.
I thought it was common sense too! I’m glad to know it was “common knowledge” at some point in the past.