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Times of economic upheaval are particularly tough on nonprofits. With the current pandemic, many have had to cancel events, in some cases losing down payments on venues and other investments, as well as the money they had hoped to raise. And, as Americans grapple with job and income insecurity, donations are likely down — especially if your nonprofit organization seems unrelated to current health concerns and news making movements like Black Lives Matter.

We recently received a package from HFA, the Humane Farming Association. This might not seem like an organization that has a direct relation to the COVID crisis, but HFA quickly makes the connection — and does so in an engaging package filled with good information and a compelling case for support.

The outer envelope features a full-bleed color image of a cow, relaxing in a field. Teaser copy starts to tie the campaign to current events: "Protecting Farm Animals is an Essential Activity." And, a standard rate stamp rather than an indicia is a nice touch.

Inside, the two-sided letter continues to stress relevance. The Johnson box reads "Standing Strong for Farm Animals — During the Pandemic — and Beyond." (We overlooked the awkward application of dashes because the message is bold and clear.) The letter copy expresses AHF's hope that "you and your loved ones" are safe and healthy, and goes on to assure concerned supporters that all of the rescued animals and HFA staff are well, "Thanks to HFA's long-standing emergency preparedness." In fact, "Even in the midst of crisis" the organization has saved 250 animals. This timely report moves into general information about HFA's mission and accomplishments and, naturally, a request for support. We were particularly impressed with two places where HFA mentions its legitimacy as a nonprofit. The last line of the letter, before the National Director's signature, reassures that "100% of your contribution goes directly into HFA's lifesaving work." The P.S. (a sometimes underestimated letter hot-spot) informs us. that HFA "has once again achieved the highest possible rating from each of the nation's charity-review organizations."

The showpiece of the campaign is a 16-page full-color magazine (folded once to fit into the 6" x 9" envelope). The magazine takes advantage of photos of animals — including animals living peacefully in HFA's sanctuary and those who are suffering in factory farms. Stories include updates on current lawsuits, boycotts, legislation, and campaigns; a list of House and Senate contacts for our state and various committee chairs in case we want to write them to support reform bills that are currently under consideration; and HFA branded items (tee shirts, books, posters, bumper stickers) that can be ordered to provide and show support.

The final inclusion is a post-paid BRE.

As direct marketers in the twenty-first century, we often advise our clients that less is more. The human attention span, as you've probably read elsewhere, is approximately the length of a goldfish's. In this case, however, more is definitely much more. We think any animal lover would be hard pressed not to respond to this smart, thorough, and well-crafted campaign.

Big thumbs-up from the Bs.

P.S. Don't forget to save the bees.

Adapting Creative for Times of Crisis

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