Merrigan & Co. in Inside Direct Mail

Partners in Change
VFW uses emotional stories in its newsletter mailer to show donors how their gifts affect lives

There’s a common thread many nonprofit organizations share when it comes to direct mail fundraising appeals—they can fall into the trap of hyping up all the great things their organizations do instead of discussing all the ways the donors help. The latter approach is the way Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) conveys its message in its fundraising newsletter test campaign.

“One of the things we see a lot is that organizations tend to lapse into what we call ‘chest-beating copy,’ with stories that are more about them, the nuts and bolts of their organization, versus what the donor is doing with the organization,” states Merritt Engel, vice president of Kansas City, Mo.-based direct marketing firm Merrigan & Co., which handles messaging for VFW’s direct mail. More>