Cards for Sues postEveryone loves Creative; oh yes, that’s the FUN part of the job. But because we all love it, everyone (and I mean everyone) has an opinion about it. “I like bold colors,“ “I’m drawn to art that’s contemporary,” or “I love that vintage stuff.” But do our opinions really matter? Unfortunately, NO! You see, it’s not about what a 20-year-old or even a 40-year-old likes . . . it’s not about your taste or even my taste. It’s about what the data tells us donors respond to. Data is our guide. It tells us where we can go with the Creative. It helps us shape the look and design of a direct mail package.

Like it or not, the demographic of donors responding to direct mail across most nonprofit organizations is still the 65+ female, and what we’ve found over the years is that with greeting cards and other premiums, there are certain types of art that generally work better than others. But even within that group there will be variations in taste, so the key to creating a successful card line is about providing a good range of art so that no one is left out.

“No high like high dislike” – an old term that still applies
It’s dangerous when someone tells you, “I LOVE these cards!” Conversely, there may be someone who hates them. We strive to provide the best range of cards, combined to give everyone something to like in the package, but not specifically geared toward one taste. A big buzzword these days is curate, and essentially that’s what we do with each line of cards we build for a client package – each piece of art is carefully selected to cast the widest net and bring in the most donors, providing much-needed funds for a particular organization. The object is always to increase response, and an Innovairre card package is a great way to achieve that goal.

Our testing strategy is designed to provide learnings that help us move forward. For files that can support it, we often use a “test-to-roll” strategy which allows us to gain valuable insight into how Creative can help us raise the most revenue for our clients. Once we see how one card line performs against another, we can then build onto that strategy to continue to provide lifts for these card packages.

Cards are still king
For as much as we may not want to admit it, or even if you have a bias against premiums . . . greeting cards work! Requests for card programs continue to come past my desk – the data is there to support that the card packages we mail are still viable, winning packages. Why do they continue to work? The simple answer is that they are:

  • Consumable: they are used and then need to be replaced
  • Versatile: they work in various time slots throughout the year
  • Crowd-pleasers: loved by donors and client alike

In addition to our successful standard card packages, we have found that adding greeting cards to an existing ‘non-premium’ direct mail package can provide a sizable lift as well. They continue to be well-received by donors across all organizations.

So release your preconceived notions and personal tastes. Let the data guide you.
My background is in studio art, and I certainly have my own opinion about what I like and dislike, but over the years I have learned to squash my personal tastes and instead focus on what the data tells me. If you let your opinions cloud the data, then you’re doomed. I’ve been a Creative Director in direct mail fundraising for 12+ years, and in that time I’ve certainly gained a lot of experience in choosing art for our packages and building a card line that will get results. Yes, there is a certain amount of experience involved here, and after all this time, I’ve realized that instinct (not to be confused with opinion) is definitely also part of the equation. It helps me translate the data most effectively, to guide our incredibly talented Creative team here at Innovairre, and completely transform the look of a package.

We’re in business to support our clients’ causes. Leverage the power of our knowledge and experience from thousands of fundraising programs we’ve done before. Let us show you how we deliver winning card creative with:

  • Test data
  • Creative direction
  • Talented Creative team to execute

This is our proven formula to take your card package to the next level!

Sue Carnevale is Director of Creative Services at Innovairre Communications, which supports more than 500 nonprofit organizations around the world. For more information about the fundraising impact of card packages, contact us at Answers@Innovairre.comSubscribe to our newsletter here. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.