What’s in my Mailbox | One of the best direct mail packages I’ve ever seen…thank you, Sheena!

February 1, 2017


There are many reasons I make a conscious choice to receive more snail mail than the average human being. For one thing, I’m interested in studying the impact of direct mail communications that are sent to donors, and I’m consistently putting my donor hat on and seeing what works and what doesn’t. For another thing, I feel mega empowered by all the amazing organizations who perform wonderful work and maintain their donor relationships through expressing gratitude to their supporters in such a personal way. It’s part of why doing what I do, day after day, is such a joy for me. Witnessing all of that genuine love, passion, gratitude, and creativity has the ability to lift me, even on the gloomiest of days. And yet another reason why I’m a direct mail junkie? I find some of these pieces so illuminating. They’ll reveal a new way of getting a message across, a new way of sharing a story, or something else. The possibilities for what an organization can do with direct mail are limitless, and I’m reminded of that fact often.

I’m grateful to those who share my love of direct mail, and Sheena Greer, a nonprofit consultant who takes one of the most creative approaches in her work I’ve ever seen, is inspired everyday by doing things differently. She so totally gets that positive change is what keeps fundraising nonprofits in flux, and I respect that. She’s a friend and an invaluable resource, and just a couple of days ago, she passed on a direct mail piece that did so many things fantastically well. It’s from the Belleville General Hospital Foundation, and the envelope contained one double-sided letter, as well as a double-sided response device that featured two options: single gift or monthly giving.

So where do I begin? Well, I’ve put this in my top tier direct mail file, and I’ll let Sheena take it away from here…

Sheena explains,

“My “partner in donor love” at Belleville General Hospital Foundation is Jenn Barrett, who is a total superstar of donor service. Jenn wanted to try a Mother’s Day mail out last year, and she found the perfect storyteller – Bonnie. She really wanted the piece to honour moms while sharing Bonnie’s incredible story of strength. Writing this piece was both easy and difficult – Bonnie is one of the strongest, down to earth women I’ve ever met, and as someone who has lost two grandmother’s to cancer, I channelled the deep empathy I felt for Bonnie and her family into a piece that I hoped would resonate with others who have fought this battle themselves or alongside other strong women like Bonnie. “Together” is the key here – in this small centre, their hospital is really a community hub. The warmth of their hospital is matched by their love and respect for their donors, patients, and the entire community.”

Unsurprisingly, the mailing was a resounding success. The proof is in the pudding, mmmm:

*We had a 62% increase on new monthly donors from the Mother’s Day Mailing (compared to previous direct mail pieces)
*The Mother’s Day piece performed 25% higher in recruiting new monthly donors compared to the next most successful DM piece.
*Caused a spike in reach on social media
*story was also shared at special events with great success.

How does this get any more awesome? Well, BGHF cleverly created a relationship between the mailing piece and their social media profile. Sheena said, “I’ve also linked to two of the videos they shared on Social Media – I LOVE that they captured both Bonnie ringing the bell at the hospital, and then shared a clip from her party.”

Ringing the victory bell:

Bonnie Rings the Victory Bell

Today was a big day for Bonnie and our donors made it possible! Thank you.

Posted by Belleville General Hospital Foundation on Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The homemade victory bell party:

What do you do after your last round of chemo is over and you have rung the Victory Bell in the cancer clinic? You gather with friends and family and ring the bell again! Congratulations Bonnie Thomson Smithrim!

Posted by Belleville General Hospital Foundation on Tuesday, May 3, 2016

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