Direct Mail Tips from Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Written by Michelle Le, Senior Account Director

Spring fashion week has come and gone (unlike the snow storms in New York City!) but the trends and designs have left a lasting impact as we move into the new season. While not quite as sexy and hip as the runways of Milan, Paris, and London – fundraising also has some lasting trends for the direct mail world that experts should take note of.

While most shoppers are on the prowl for flashy and expensive dresses, true fashionistas know that a simple, classic little black dress is all you need to make an impression. Like a LBD or well-tailored suit, direct mail creative abides by basic rules to achieve great success. As fundraisers, we are requested time and again to create flashy and expensive direct mail packages to increase response and average gift. And time and time again we have seen that donors do not respond to these types of flashy packages because 1) they look too commercial and 2) it’s not what they are used to receiving from the organization.

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If you are looking to refresh or tweak your packages, keep in mind the outer envelope. Simply getting donors to open a direct mail piece is the greatest obstacle that many organizations face. But as most non-profits know, this is easier said than done. Not only does the envelope have to stand out amongst bills, magazines, and personal cards – it has to pique the donor’s interest.

To encourage donors to open your package we recommend:

  1. Adding attention-grabbing teasers – startling facts or emotional quotes can catch the donor’s attention.
  2. Having no teasers at all – don’t force a teaser if you don’t have a compelling one, your brand can stand on its own.
  3. A simple design – overcrowding the envelope with photos, teasers, and design elements makes it difficult for donor’s to focus on one message.
  4. No colored envelopes – it’s easy to think that a brightly colored envelope will stand out, but if it doesn’t align with the organization’s branding, donors will not open the piece.

Check out our blog next week to learn more about designing direct mail letters and reply forms.

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