Adrian Beney's FAQs

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Note that all of these FAQs date from before the implementation of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EU) Directive. They shold not be relied upon in 2015 or later. But they do provide a bit of interesting historic detail, and some of them are still up to date.


Section: Telephone and Direct Mail Fundraising

Question
Should fundraising and questionnaire materials be sent to alumni in envelopes branded with the University logo?

Answer
My answer would be emphatically "Yes.".

Why? Because it will differentiate your mail from the junk mail. The aim is to get your alumni to open the envelope. If putting a University logo on an envelope is going to be enough to put the recipient off opening it, then your relationship with them is on rocky ground. If you can delay their negative reaction just a moment by "tricking" them into opening it, whatever is inside is going to have to be pretty arresting to get them to respond. A £20 note would probably do the trick, but it would increase the costs of the mailing rather. Think about it like this:

Envelope with logo

Your alumnus loves you

Your alumna is ambivalent

Your alumna hates you

Envelope arrives on doormat

Delighted

Intrigued or irritated

Annoyed

Mail is picked up from doormat

Mail is opened

Mail is probably opened

Mail is thrown in the bin

Result

Mail is read

Mail is read or thrown away

Mail is thrown away

Envelope without logo

Your alumnus loves you

Your alumna is ambivalent

Your alumna hates you

Envelope arrives on doormat

Another piece of mail

Another piece of mail

Another piece of mail

Mail is picked up from doormat

Mail is opened

Mail is probably opened

Mail is probably opened

Result

Mail is read

Mail is read or thrown away

Mail is thrown away

The net result is identical, all that changes with the logo on the envelope is that the decision to not respond is taken about 5 seconds earlier! I do not believe that NOT putting the logo on the envelope will improve response rate.

I do think there are powerful arguments for putting the logo on the envelope, as follows

  1. It differentiates your mail from junk mail to those who wish to receive it
  2. It makes it much more likely that it will be forwarded to a new address if the alum has moved
  3. It makes it much more likely that it will be retained by a parent / granny / housesitter etc if the person is temporarily away
  4. It makes it more likely you will get a return back from the Post Office

Then add in the handwriting stuff, and you can make the person receiving the envelope much more likely to respond positively to your message.

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