February 23, 2017 Douglas Shaw & Associates

Once you’ve identified the right people to get your communications, the real challenge is to get your donor or prospect to open the envelope or read the email. You need to break through the clutter. If you thought your mailbox at home was crowded, how’s your email box(es)? In just one of my email accounts there are 15,000 unread, deleted emails.

So why does your communication get trashed even if you sent it to the right person?

Spilling your candy in the lobby

That may seem like an odd statement to make but it’s just like spilling your candy in the lobby. Your envelope or subject line gave the reader so much information that they made their decision right there at the trash can. Unless that’s all the donor needs to make a gift (and for a couple of your donors, that may be the case) then your communication doesn’t stand a chance.

I recently received an appeal where the teaser told the prospect that they could get the premium offer for a gift of any amount. I suspect only the core donors responded to this message. I had no reason to even open up the envelope. That’s how your donors and prospects make decisions, too.

The envelope of a direct mail letter or the subject line of an email have only one real purpose:

To Get Opened!

If your mail or email isn’t opened and read, do you stand any real chance of engaging them in the work of your organization? How many of your communications will end up in the landfill (real and digital) because you told everything your donor or prospect needed to know to make a decision.

Let’s say you get through the obstacle and your communication is opened, there’s nothing more deadly to effective communication than the next mistake I too often see.

You can’t bore a donor into a gift!

Too often I read copy in communications sent to me, both digitally and in paper, that are written like a PhD thesis. Tons of well-meaning information but nothing that pulls the reader into the letter. It’s just fact after boring fact. You may communicate the who, what, when, where, why and how but it doesn’t answer your donor’s biggest question.

Why should I care?

Perhaps you are over reliant on information because you believe that we all make rational decisions. We don’t. In study after study, it’s been proven that people make their best decisions when their emotions get involved. And in order to do that, you have to get their minds and their hearts engaged in what you’re sending to them—regardless of the channel.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan is credited with saying “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” The problem is that everyone interprets the same set of facts a bit differently. Our life experiences shape how we view events and “facts.”

You stand a strong chance of getting a gift if you can engage your donors and prospects in such a way that all their senses are involved.

If you’d like to learn more about how to get your mail and email opened, delivering more donors and better donors, call Doug Shaw at (630)562-1321.

This is a continuation of our initial article: The Number One Reason Your Communications Ends Up in the Trash

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