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Mailbox Monday


At B Direct, we love nonprofits. Not only do they give us a chance to do good work for a good cause, but the nonprofit industry is one that has long embraced direct mail marketing — and one that has great respect for testing.

Major nonprofit mailers know exactly how much lift they'll achieve if they add personalized address labels, a notepad, greeting cards, or other "freemium" item. They test copy, design, offers, teasers ... pretty much every element that teams like ours come up with. Basically, they understand — and make the most of — the left brain/right brain (the one, two punch) of direct mail. Creative, emotional appeals that have real results and data analytics backing them up.

(Yes, we're direct marketing geeks. Sorry, not sorry.)

This week, we received a terrific package from one of our favorite nonprofits: World Wildlife Fund. This campaign works hard from its envelope teaser to its response device and everything in between. It includes several pieces (six two-sided inserts total), all of which reinforce WWF's message and mission.

The package arrived in a four-color, #10 converted window envelope. Front and center is a teaser and photo of the campaign's offer: "Get a set of 4 FREE WWF Tote Bags!" Images on the bags include a tiger, a polar bear, a couple of giraffes (graceful necks entwined), and a shore bird. A second teaser advises us to "Say "No" to plastic bags." Under the photo of the tote bags, it might as well have said "Animal lovers, open at your own risk." The back of the envelope includes WWF's return address and a message that encourages the recipient to "Turn over a new leaf wth a paperless membership today," along with a campaign URL. Finally, there are seals certifying that the capaign was produced on recycled paper with vegetable-based ink. WWF knows its audience.

Inside, a two-page letter from WWF's Senior Vice President of Membership reports in detail all that the organization is doing to help animals and what the prospective member can do to help them continue their important work. The tote bag offer is promoted in a colorful johnson box, and the P.S. assures that 84% of the money raised by WWF goes directly to conservation activities. The letter is well-written and emphatic.

The next insert that caught our eye promotes the tote bag offer again (with plenty of details including possible uses and the bags' dimensions) on one side, and a list of "10 Simple Things YOU Can Do to Help PROTECT the Earth!" on the other. The list is fun to read and includes easy ways to reduce waste and save energy. Like turning down the thermostat, walking, reusing then recycling, shutting off lights, and opting out of catalogs. Copy is playful and we can imagine the list being posted on a family's refrigerator as a gentle reminder. The tenth tip, highlighted in bold type, is to support WWF.

Another insert takes a more serious tone, describing Wildlife Crime, such as poaching and trafficking. Stats, such as the number of elephants and rhinos killed by poachers, emphasize just how mission-critical the issue is. The information is appropriately disturbing and the reader is encouraged to support WWF and its efforts to "shut down the crime."

As a free gift, there's a cute bookmark, printed on coated card stock, with illustrations of shore birds and a motvational quote: "We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children." It's subtly branded with WWF and a URL.

Finally, the package includes a response slip and business reply envelope. These also demonstrate tried and true (and tested) best practices. The recipient is led toward a minimum donation of $16, but given options up to $100. The tote bag offer is plugged yet again. There's a simple piechart that repeats the "84% of funds go to programs" information shared in the letter. Along with the symbols denoting green paper and ink, there are seals from Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau. And, the BRE includes a quick message suggesting that a stamp "will make your contribution to conservation go even further."

This is a fairly complicated package with several inserts. But, they all work in concert even as each seems to appeal to a slightly different mindset. They all build WWF's brand, while concurrently making a strong case for membership.

The Bs at B Direct give WWF's summer campaign a thumbs-up. (And we encourage WWF, its members, and our readers to help save the bees.)




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