How to Get Potential Donors to Open That Envelope

May 10, 2019

People generally make split-second decisions about what’s worth keeping or tossing, when going through their mail. Here are five tips to create interest and keep your mail out of the recycle bin.

Size

#10 envelopes are everywhere. Change it up a size or two so it stands out a little more. Or go smaller for the same reason. We’ve had good results with what is affectionately referred to as a “sneaky pack” – a colourful envelope in the style of a Christmas card mailed just prior to the holiday season.

Hand addressing

Trade in the window envelope for a closed face version. This encourages opens because it doesn’t look automated; indeed, it looks like someone took the time to sit down to personally address a letter to you (despite the fact that most lettershops’ hand addressing is done by a small machine that uses a real pen). Add to the mystery by leaving the front blank and only including the organization’s return address on the flap.

Colour and Design

In a sea of white envelopes, the right colour and design can pique curiosity about the package’s contents. We’ve had #11 envelopes created that looked like paper lunch bags – because the signatory was, believe it or not, a lunch bag. Design is definitely worth testing as what works for one organization may not work well for another. Head-to-head tests of image vs. no image, teaser vs. no teaser, etc. can garner very different results for different organizations. Test test test!

Teasers

This is the line that subliminally says “open me!” Like the name says, it should tease and hint at what’s inside without telling the whole story. That said, if there is a matching gift involved, this should be reflected in your teaser as matches are proven motivators.

Be honest

Misleading images or text may get the envelope opened, but if it’s not true to the cause, potential donors will be annoyed and that recycle bin will get full, fast.

The envelope is the first thing a potential donor sees and serious thought should be given to the messaging, be it through text, images, or both. They aren’t just carrying content – they can be the key to unlocking a door.

Extra tip! While Business Reply Envelopes are only seen once the package has been opened, it’s always a nice touch to add “Thank You!” to that most clinical looking envelope.

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Nadine Cheney

Nadine Cheney