Think about the precious hours and funds that go into your direct mail campaign. Think about the handwritten notes scribbled inside from staff and board members to your donors.
Now think about how many of those hours went into thinking about the envelope. The envelope is the difference between the 'open pile' and the 'recycle bin'. Behold all the beautifully-crafted mail you yourself have never read because you tossed it in the trash can.
That's why I paid special attention this year to my own behavior this year -- what I opened and what I junked unopened.
This nonprofit mailing -- sent in a cheap #10 Envelope -- took the prize for using the most effective 'open me' strategy:
This handwritten heart told me that this mailing was being sent to me by someone I knew associated with the nonprofit, and sure enough, that was the case. People give to people they know....so of course, I opened it...and donated.
Your Board, staff, and other volunteers are the human touch of your organization. Even if they are already personalizing an outreach, thank you, or impact letter, ask them to take the extra step by putting a heart or a smiley face on the outside of the envelope before it's popped in the mail...so the envelope gets opened!