The Envelopes Please

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In fundraising, business reply can bring in the bucks.

The Envelopes Please
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.

It’s not a hard ask

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.

It’s worth the envelopes

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.

It’s up to you

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.


Julie Thomas

Business Development

November 16, 2015

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