Cross posted at www.FutureFundraisingNow.com.
What do you think when you see this direct mail fundraising envelope?
A mistake? The handwriting goes across the window… that can’t be on purpose, can it?
Turns out, this was a mistake. A miscommunication between the designer and the printer.
Nope. It worked great.
It’s the kind of “mistake” that usually improves fundraising. An odd, out-of-place, not-the-done-thing that grabs your eye and makes you cringe.
More often than not, this kind of mistake works for you, not against you.
I was once involved in a direct mail piece that included a bounce back paper placemat. Donors were asked to sign the placemat and return it with their donation. The placemat would be put on the table at a meal the donation helped fund. It’s a good (and proven) way to increase response to meal-focused offers.
But here’s the error: on the reply coupon, there was a quick reminder about the placemat. Despite many layers of quality proofreading, the printed final that went to out donors said:
Please sign the enclosed placenta and return it with your donation.
Are you cringing?
Whether you are or not, the piece broke records for response. A few donors wrote to point out the bizarre error – mostly along with their donation.
Why did this mistake seemingly boost response?
Our theory: Errors grab attention. And someone who’s paying attention is likely to read for a few more seconds, and therefore a lot more likely to donate.
So when an error happens, it may not be a problem. It might even be great! So great you’d consider making a mistake on purpose.
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