Hey -- how'd you like to know an easy way to increase the cost of your direct mail fundraising -- decreasing response at the same time?
Here's how: Add a brochure to the package. It works like magic to make things worse!
Brochures almost always depress response in direct mail. (There are, no doubt, exceptions to this. But they are rare. I've never seen a brochure improve results. Or even stay even with a non-brochure mailing.)
Here's a fairly typical brochure. It was in a mailing from The International Rescue Committee. It's a good example of why brochures do exactly opposite of what we intend for them.
- Brochures aren't personal. Direct mail fundraising is all about make a person-to-person connection. Think about it: Would you consider a stranger who hands you a brochure someone likely to become a friend?
- Brochures may be distracting. Brochures have color and photos. That can draw donors away from the active ingredients you'd rather they pay attention to, such as the reply device.
- Brochures aren't about donors. Theoretically, they could be, but they never are. Brochures are created out of the need to puff up and explain organizations. This brochure is a prime example. It's all about the achievements of the organization -- we vaccinated, we trained, we gave, we created, we assisted, we counseled. The only you statement sneaks in on the back panel: Donations from humanitarians like you allow us to... That's bad fundraising.
If you want to improve your results, test your package with no brochure. Most likely, your numbers will improve. (And you'll lower the cost too!) I'm sure there are exceptions to this, but I've never seen a brochure that improved direct mail response.
Here's the rest of that brochure, in case you'd like to see an organizational brag-fest (click to enlarge):