2 “Better” Motivators

It’s long been said that the two prime motivators in direct-mail copy are fear and greed. But for obvious reasons, those two rather unsavory emotions are not best associated with the mission statement of a non-profit. So how does a copywriter leverage the powers of good to compel the spirit of generosity?

  1. Curiosity. In a recent mailing from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, questionnaires intended to get prospects thinking about MS had unexpected success.

    “We had no idea how it would impact response rates, but it’s been very positive,” says Krista Byers, senior national director of database marketing for NMSS. She reports the organization expects up to 15,000 responses by the program’s end. The survey, which comes attached to the reply device, has simple instructions on how to fill it out and return it. The copy promises a premium upon receipt. The survey features a short list of one-line questions and asks prospects to respond by picking from a range of feelings (“Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree”).

  2. Encouragement. The American Red Cross helps prospects feel they’re making a real difference by sending a certificate of appreciation that’s personalized for each donor. Use of words such as “caring,” “support,” and “generosity” go a long way to inspire warm feelings in donors. To further add to the prospect’s sense of well-being, the American Red Cross lists its designation as a four-star charity on the back of the reply device. It’s an important callout, and Cynthia King, senior associate in the organization’s chapter mail program, reports that “recipients consistently respond to it.”

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


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Published: May 27, 2008

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