Chances are, you have boxes of business reply envelopes stacked around your office. The unglamorous business reply is a workhorse of fundraising, an inexpensive and effective tool that more than pays for itself. It takes only a couple of donations to offset the cost of including one in your fundraising mailings.
What many fundraising executives might not realize is that it can pay off to include a business reply envelope in mailings that aren’t “asks.” One of our clients, an area nonprofit, recently learned this.
The organization sent a letter to supporters, a simple “here’s what we’ve been up to” message. There was no plea for donations, no gift card, no request for monetary support. But the organization did include a business-reply envelope. That inexpensive addition — the envelopes cost no more than a nickel each — brought the group thousands of dollars in charitable donations.
Of course, there is a flip side to this practice. Many charitable-giving experts warn that the business reply card is a subtle request for a donation. Their thought is that you should not always include one; instead, you should on occasion give your donors a break by not asking for a gift in either an obvious or subtle way.
In any case, business reply envelopes do pay off, sometimes in surprising ways. Make sure you put them to good use.
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