This falls into the “Passing along great information” category.
From the September 5th, Donor Power Blog posting:
7 surprising facts about direct-response fundraising:
1. Blank carrier envelopes usually out-perform envelopes with teasers.
2. Longer letters perform better. Usually. There are exceptions.
3. The most-read part of a fundraising letter is the P.S.
4. Typos improve response. I can’t prove this, but it seems to be true.
5. Mail recipients spend more time looking at the back of the envelope than the front.
6. Religious people give more to non-religious causes than non-religious people. Religious people give more to everything.
7. The most powerful predictor that a donor will give is the recency of her previous gift.
Here’s my two cents on these 7:
1. I think I’ve stated before how far too often, adding a teaser does absolutely nothing to entice the donor to open the envelope. If you can come up with a tagline that is appropriate and tells the donor that there is something inside that they really need to see/read – go for it.
2. Longer letters often do better – it’s true. Most often if it is a prospect piece. You need space to do more selling to that new donor, keep it focused on your mission. I’ve seen it tested – and again in prospecting tends to beat short letters. But I would bet if you were mailing a Renewal 3 mailing and it was 6 pages – a short one, 1 pager, would beat the pants off it.
3. The P.S. is your first/last chance to make that donor give – so reiterate the importance of the mailing and why you need their support.
4. Typo’s: I’ve never heard of this… would love to know if anyone has ever had the guts to test this. I, for one, can’t imagine trying to convince a charity that typos in their letter is ok…
5. I have always thought – if you have 2 sides to an envelope then you have 2 sides to convince the donor to open it. But back to point 1 – sometimes an “official” looking envelope with just a logo and return address or just a return address can do better for the mailing.
6. Sounds like common sense this one.
7. There are people in our sector who can tell you if there is such a thing as mailing someone too much or too often. But I think, if you have a need and you can express that need for a gift, then mail your donors. Do not mail for the sake of mailing. And I hate to say it – there are far too many charities mailing for the sake of mailing.