The b direct logo Hive

Mailbox Monday


The first job of any direct mail package is to stand out in a crowded mailbox. You can do this through color, through photography, shape, or size. We typically think that bigger is better — or at least more difficult to ignore. In the case of this extremely hard-working not-for-profit solicitation, being little works to its advantage.

The closed envelope measures just 4" x 6", significantly smaller than the business mail, credit card bills, magazines, and sales flyers it arrived with. The envelope is also blind — the name and address appear in a window but there's no return address. The postage paid inidicia does indicate that it's a nonprofit organization and even names it: Feeding America. However, we think it's safe to assume that the average prospective donor is not looking at the indicia. (That, gentle reader, is an activity saved for direct mail geeks like the Bs.)

We don't usually recommend leaving off return addresses. Even if you want to wait and reveal the sender inside, we still suggest putting a street address at the very least. (It just seems like the polite and respectful thing to do. Plus, we've been in business long enough to remember the anthrax mailings of 2001.) However, in this case, the mailing's distinctive size was intriguing enough to get us to open it.

Inside, we found a single sheet of card stock folded into four panels. The first message, printed as a teaser above the name and address, alerted us to the fact that there are children in Marblehead (home of B Direct's world headquarters) who are struggling with hunger and need our help. We're also directed to read an important message inside. An art panel acts almost as a brochure cover with a picture of a young child and a title telling us that the mailing is for Feeding America's 2019 Annual Fund. Below that, a personalized panel acts as a response device, serving up six donation options and the number of children, from 200 to 2,500, that each helps feed. We have an option to donate online, and a call-to-action expressing urgency and encouraging us to respond by June 11th. A final short-fold panel serves almost as a receipt, personalized again, and thanking us for our support.

On the flipside of the insert is a personalized letter from the president of the organization. It's well written, persuasive, and to the point. Below it, the back of the response card offers a credit card option. And, finally, on the back of the "thank you" receipt is a list of "Handy Kitchen Conversions," tying in nicely to the message of helping to feed people. A final inclusion in the package is a postage paid BRE.

Completely unfolded, the insert is just 5" x 13.5". Yet it's personalized in eight separate places. The creative is lean, but polished. The package does a good job, in a tiny footprint, of reminding us that hunger isn't something found only in faraway developing countries. In fact, it's here in our own community. As donors, we're pleased to see such a cost-efficient solicitation. We, like so many other donors, want to help real people in real need; we don't want our contributions used for marketing.

The Bs give this handsome little package a thumbs-up.


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