My dad once sent me a Rice Krispie Square with one bite taken out of it.
I knew his handwriting immediately on the puffy, oddly shaped, crinkled envelope. It looked like it had been pulled through a hedge backwards.
I smiled. I opened the envelope and the tasty treat dropped in my hand. Written on a small note paper was a ‘thinking of you and love always’ scrawl. Tears sprung into my eyes. I threw my head back. I laughed.
I beamed. I shared it with my friends. I called him and told him I loved him and couldn’t wait to see him.
Canada Post’s news about phasing out door to door delivery and the massive increase in the cost of a stamp made me immediately think about moments—and stories—like this.
And I have a few immediate reactions for charities. Note that this is not a detailed post about the operational, budgetary or practical implications of the Canada Post announcement. This is my emotional reaction.
Cherish your opportunities to share real mail with your community. The off-the-corner-of-the-desk, handwritten, just wanted to enclose a photo letters. Your thank-you letter and tax receipt, thoughtful donor love and real stewardship pieces—from one person to another—usually are sent with a first class stamp. So make them shine. It just got a lot more expensive to send “transactional” receipts (those all-in-one, letter-at-the-top-and-receipt-at-the-bottom things). Make your thank you and receipt experience as delightful as you can.
As for “superboxes”—this only makes an existing challenge more acute. Your DM pack must be unique and special, starting from the outer envelope. Use a #10 left window envelope at your own peril. When and if your donor goes to their superbox every 3-4 days and it’s a stack of those, you’ll more likely end up in the “blue box pile” and not the “read this” pile.
Beware the temptation to drive everyone to your website and/or massively increase your social and online activity—unless you do it strategically. Critically review and analyze your donation system, your ability to secure placement for your key campaigns on the homepage (especially acquisition campaigns), create customized landing and donation pages, and take time and effort to create, adapt, recreate and refresh all your online communications—auto email, thank you email/tax receipt.
And finally, this news does not really take away from the Agents of Good nutshell about direct mail: your donors love you, they give to you because they value what you do and you help make their dreams come true. If you are writing to share stories, demonstrate impact and inspire them, I believe they will continue to open your mail with enthusiasm.