Here's something cool from Uncle Maynard's Treasure Trove of Direct Mail Knowledge.
Check out this large carrier envelope (it measures 11 x 6 inches):
It's from Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV). Most of the package is dedicated to a sweepstakes, a fundraising tactic I don't approve of and never recommend. But if I were wearing a hat, I'd take it off to everything else about this package.
The boldness of the proclamation is wonderful. All these guys know about Uncle Maynard is that he shows up on lists of donors. If you think about it, that makes him special. HHV says very special.
The letter inside starts like this:
As you may know, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are over 300 million people in America. Unfortunately, just a fraction of those citizens have cared enough to donate to worthwhile causes, time and again.
However, according to our records, you, Mr. Maynard _, are one of the unselfish ones. A person who was kind enough to give back to those less fortunate, to a cause of great importance. As such a person, you have earned our respect and recognition as A WASHINGTON Donor of the Year
In honor of this recognition, we have enclosed a special certificate for you to frame and hang on a wall in your Seattle, Washington home. Look on it with pride.
Enjoy it in good health!
A lot of organizations would be unable to take the next step, because somebody would say, "Yes, but there are thousands of people on those lists!" As if that diminishes the significance of Uncle Maynard's generosity.
"But surely the donors will know that they're just one of many thousands!" They may or may not. That's not what matters. The important things are whether it gets their attention and makes them feel good.
Here's the certificate:
(Yes, that's an attached gold-foil seal on there!)
This probably seems over-the-top. In a way, it is. But let me tell you this: It's probably not possible to over-praise your donors. (Unless you tell lies about them.)
What I love about this package is that it understands one of the most important but most often ignored rules of fundraising: It's about the donor, not about your organization.