I promise this will be the last time I rant for a while. My darling wife questions my sanity when I get so upset over something as innocuous (at times) as direct mail. But I’m sorry, I can’t help it. When charities and consultants start treating donors all the same, without thought, appreciation, like a number on their excel sheet – I get upset. You can be big and you can be small – but I beg you – please remember that there is a human who will be getting your pack in their mailbox.
Also – coincidentally enough, I also got my fall newsletter from my pal Bob Knight… and he had this to day on the same subject:
THE FAVOUR OF ORIGINALITY IS REQUESTED
A couple of weeks ago, on one day, I received direct mail solicitations from two charities. But you’d hardly know at a glance that they were different. That’s because both outer envelopes bore the very same teaser: “The favour of your reply is requested.”
Fine, thought your scribe, there’s a Tweedle Dee and a Tweedle Dum. But a few days later I received a donation request from another charity. Its OE, too, read, “The favour of your reply is requested.” What do we have now? Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Duh?
Then a couple of days ago another charity sent me their package…with the self-same teaser.
That’s four non-profits that should be convincing me that their charity is the one to support because they’re different from the rest. Yet they all used identical teasers.
And the ill-advisedness of employing that particular line doesn’t end there. It’s in passive voice instead of active, and we know from readership studies that active voice out pulls passive.
Plus, “The favour of your reply is requested” is just too high falutin’ for a charity. After all, we’re not talking about selling million dollar condos or Rolls Royces here. We’re talking about organizations that should be presenting themselves as down-home folks just trying to do some good in the world.
As a result of the aforementioned, I don’t expect to do any of them the favour of replying.