Last week, I received this question about a fundraising letter acquisition mailing.
We are doing an acquisition mailing to patients of Local Community Clinic on behalf of Local Community Clinic Foundation, a 501c3 that offers support to the Clinic and the Community. The mailing is huge – just over 100,000 – and we are trying to keep this within our budget abilities without losing the personal touch for the end readers. The burning question is in regards to using a window envelope. We can use artwork on the envelope that says “a Special Invitation” or something to that nature so they know it’s not a bill, or we could really break the bank and use a regular envelope, which will require extra matching and printing. In your research and work, are you aware of any trends in acquisition mailings that use a window envelope vs. a non-window envelope? When this is to an audience with a relationship to us, what percent return on average should we expect? Not more than 1%?
Director, Fundraising and Development
Local Community Clinic
Here’s my answer:
Even though these folks have a relationship, they still see it as a transactional, business relationship. If you’ve ever been a patient and had to pay bills, you’ll know what I mean.
So I’d still use the 1% benchmark. Actually, I’ve been told (and experienced myself) that acquisition mailings lose money. You do them because of the life-time value of the donor. Once a person gives, they’re far more likely to give again. So be sure to remember that when analyzing the results.
As for the envelope, your #1 goal is having them open it. That’s all. So I’d say go for a window with no teaser. They’re already used to receiving that from your organization. Plus it does help down the cost!
Do you agree? Share your comments below!
I am the Treasurer of a political party. In a few months time our country will be heading for National Elections and my job is to raise funds for the Party. We all have strengths and weaknesses and I admit fundraising is not one of my strengths. However the job has to be done as a matter of urgency.I am appealing for your assistance in coaching me and giving guidance on how to overcome this fear of asking. Your urgent response will be much appreciated.
Thanks Helene. I’ve just sent you an email. 🙂