From The Golden Thread Mailbag …
“You Have Been Selected”

Dear Pat,

I’ve been asked by a local charity to write some grant proposals for them. How do I price that kind of service? If I offer them a “pay on results” type of contract, what percentage of the grant money can I ask for? I’m hoping to build my portfolio and do a direct-mail fundraising letter for them too. Thanks for your help! I love reading The Golden Thread weekly!


Kathy E.

Hello Kathy,

Congratulations on your assignment. Your question is tough to answer without knowing anything about the charity. My advice would be to ask them what their budget is and then go from there. Keep in mind the advantages of adding them to your client list and the potential for writing sales letters for them.

Hi Pat,

I have a question about direct-mail materials I receive that say I’ve “been selected” to be worthy of their product, or “a good friend” gave them my name, or I’m “so special” that they want me.

Give me a break. I’m on a mailing list, that’s how I got “chosen.”

Do people fall for this baloney? Are these examples of a dying style of solicitation, or do enough gullible folks believe this malarkey to perpetuate it?

I don’t plan on writing materials in this deceptive manner, but I am curious about it.

Tamara S.

Hello Tamara,

You bring up a very good point. There are direct-mail companies out there that aren’t reputable. Sad, but true. But you don’t have to write for them. That’s one of the perks of being a freelance copywriter. You can pick and choose who you want to work for. And you will write much better copy (i.e., more successful copy) if you write for companies you believe in that sell products that benefit their customers … and maybe even products that you use yourself.

That being said, having a greeting that says you have “been selected” does not make a promotion “malarkey,” as you put it. It can be an effective tool to get someone to open your letter … which is the point.

And, in fact, the people receiving these letters have been selected. There are millions and millions of names in the Direct Mail Universe. DM companies don’t waste their time and money to mail a promotion to every single direct-mail buyer out there. They select lists of people that they believe their product will benefit.

Hello Pat,

I am happy to report that I have FINALLY completed the program, and enjoyed it very much. I learned a considerable amount about successful copywriting, although I have done this type of work for many years. I have made contact with a possible client as a marketing consultant. My third meeting is this week, and I have prepared three ads with layout and copy. I’m using what I’ve learned from AWAI as a basis of my work for them.


Robert E.

Congratulations, Robert – and thanks to one and all. Keep those emails coming!


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The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: May 15, 2006

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