When you send out fundraising letters, you have to keep in mind that you need to find a way to make your letter reach out and grab the attention of the people who receive it. Because people get so much junk mail these days, they often skim quickly through their mail and toss out everything that doesn't capture their attention right away.
Don't overlook the importance of the envelope you use to mail out your fundraising letters. The first thing that people notice when they receive a letter is the envelope. Many fundraisers make the mistake of failing to realise just how important the envelope they use may be, and this error often costs the donations. When choosing the envelopes for your next fundraising letter, stop and think about how it's likely to appear to the recipient.
What Does Your Letter Look Like?
When you're sending out fundraising letters, there has to be something about the way the envelope looks that makes the recipient want to take a look inside. People tend to open professional looking documents that look like personal correspondence, but they often immediately throw away things that look computer generated.
Don’t: Don't Use Form Letter or Bill Format
If your envelope looks like a form letter or solicitation, it's likely to be trashed. If it looks like a bill, it's likely to go into a stack with other bills. If your request goes into the bill stack, it will eventually be opened, but only when the recipient is ready to sit down and pay bills. This is not a good time for people to see your request. If people are writing out bills when they see your fundraising letter, they certainly aren't going to find the idea of giving you money an attractive one.
Don't: Avoid Window Envelopes
Many people use window envelopes, so they don't have to worry about addressing or labeling envelopes. Instead, they fold their letters so the inside address shows through the window. While this technique does save time, it is not a good idea. This is the best way to ensure that your fundraising letters look like bills or form letters.
Do: Use Quality Envelopes
The type of envelope you use will have an impact on whether or not people find the letter appealing enough to open. Don't use the standard envelopes that people use to submit bill payments. Get some nice, heavy envelopes that look very professional. You may even want to get envelopes made with colored or textured paper, to make them stand out. The idea is to select envelopes that convey the proper image for your organization.
One of the most effective techniques for fundraising letter envelopes is to make sure they look personalized. Instead of using labels (or the dreaded window envelopes), hand address your envelopes or print the addresses directly on the envelope yourself. If you send hand addressed letters, be sure to get a volunteer with excellent penmanship to help you out. If you use your printer, select a font that resembles handwriting.