Fundraising Letter Envelopes: How To Make Them Irresistible


Readers spend only a few seconds deciding the fate of your direct mail fundraising appeals. Either they open them on the spot, set them aside for later, or chuck them in the waste paper basket. Here are some creative ways to tease your donors into opening your envelopes.

Hint at the contents

A #10 envelope from Covenant House is covered in retro 1960s flowers, with the headline, "A Special Gift for you inside . . ."

Demonstrate exclusivity

A 6 x 9 envelope for Nature Conservancy shows wetlands, forests and coastlines and bears this teaser headline: "Your exclusive briefing on Canada's most ambitious campaign for conservation."

Ask a question

A #10 envelope for Habitat for Humanity features a photo of a tape measure and the question beneath: "How do you measure hope?"

Arouse curiosity

Doctors Without Borders features a photo of a hand holding the special bracelet that doctors and nurses use overseas to asses children for malnutrition. The headline reads: "See inside for a very useful little bracelet. Try it on!"

Create urgency

The Salvation Army features on its #10 outer envelope a "to-do" list featuring the days of the month from December 17 counting down to December 25, which is circled. The headline, written by hand, says: "Urgent: Christmas Countdown! Please help us get ready!"

Capitalize on current events

Doctors Without Borders uses a broad red stripe across its envelope with this headline reversed out in white type: "7.5 million Afghans in humanitarian crisis." Stamped across the envelope in a stencil font is this subhead: "Was and Winter in Afghanistan."

Use both sides of the envelope

A mailing for the World Wildlife Fund features on the front a tiger asleep on a log that stretches from one side of the envelope to the other. On the reverse side of the envelope, a square window reveals some teaser copy and a premium inside.

Involve the donor

Doctors Without Borders shows an immunization card and this teaser: "As a child, you conquered this deadly disease . . ."

Use an invitation

Hope for Children Foundation intrigues donors with this headline: "Your invitation to turn a life around by one degree."

Promise a benefit

InTouch Ministries features a 6 x 9 envelope bearing a photo of a hand holding a remote control pointed at a television. On the television is Dr. Charles Stanley, television preacher and founder of InTouch. The teaser copy beneath the remote control says: "Why you need to grab this on May 1st."

Announce news

Trans World Radio intrigues donors with a photo of a man from Central Asia and this headline: "Exciting News Inside: New TWR broadcast signal going out! Millions in troubled region to hear the Gospel!"

Add human interest

Hope for Children Foundation features a photo of a smiling mother holding her smiling daughter. The headline reads: "This Christmas, celebrate the impossible."

Hint at success

A letter from Oxfam shows a girl standing at a blackboard. The headline says, "Pascaline will change her world."

About the author

© 2005 Sharpe Copy Inc. You may reprint this article online and in print provided the links remain live and the content remains unaltered (including the "About the author" message).


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