In our campaigns we cancel mail sent using first class presort, nonprofit, or commercial bulk rate stamps.
The only mail we don't cancel is that sent at the full first class rate, which is canceled by the Post Office.
Why do we do this?
Because in A/B testing that compared response rates to mail that used canceled nonprofit stamps with an
equivalent volume of mail that was sent naked (with nonprofit stamps that were not canceled), the response rate in the canceled segment was 27.27 percent greater. Even though the DMM (Domestic Mail Manual) prohibits the cancellation of such postage stamps, High Touch has obtained an exemption from this regulation. So when we enter your mail with cancelled discount stamps, it is accepted.
These data and data from other campaigns using this technique are described oin more detail in the research
paper referred to above. In addition to getting mail opened, were mail normally sent at the full first class rate
sent at the nonprofit rate instead, up to 70% could be saved on postage alone, with little erosion of results.
In addition to Computer HandScript addressing, two more features contributed to this campaign's success:
1.) the nonprofit stamps on the envelope were canceled, and 2.) the telltale markings common to business mail are
missing because rather than printing a logo and the organization's name in the return address block, we printed only
the return address, city, state and zip code.
(this side is personalized)
(3-1/4" x 4-3/4")
(4-Bar: 3-5/8" x 5-1/8")
Computer HandScript Beat Real Handwriting
The Computer HandScript segment in the first test above out-performed real handwriting. The positive response may have been attributable to two factors. First, the quality was consistent across the thousands of pieces mailed and second, the Computer HandScript simulated handwriting usued looked realistic because it was created from samples of real handwriting.
But with Fake-looking Handwriting Fonts, Results Plummeted
However, in subsequent tests reported in the paper referred to above, The American Heart Association saw results plummet when an obviously fake handwriting font was used. This suggests that emulating the realism of actual handwriting is an important factor in such campaigns. (See an example of a Computer HandScript Campaign we conducted for Utah Youth Village).
The Window Envelope Control Package Raised Slightly More Net Income, but Regained Far Fewer Donors
The inexpensive window envelope package raised slightly more net income than the Computer HandScript note
card package because its cost was far less. However, since the primary aim of this campaign was to renew donors,
the more important goal was to boost donor retention statistics. The Computer HandScript segment attracted 346%
Download a 16 MB pdf of the Dissertation Chapter or a Shorter Summary Article
The A/B comparisons summarized above, along with additional segments studied, are reported in greater detail in two papers that can be downloaded by clicking on the following hyperlinked titles:
1. The first piece you can download is an 84-page dissertation chapter that reviews campaigns that have used handwriting to increase response. This chapter has been excerpted from Dr. Frank Dickerson's doctoral dissertation: Writing the Voice of Philanthropy: How to Raise Money with Words: An examination of linguistic, paralinguistic, and rhetorical dimensions of written fund-raising discourse): The Impact of Paratextual Variables on Response and ROI. This chapter reviews several published studies that have used handwriting or simulated handwriting to improve direct mail campaign response. It also includes the entire 22-page bibliogrphy from the dissertation from which the chapter was taken.
2. The second article, An Executive Summary of The Impact of Paratextual Variables, is a two-page summary of the
chapter on paratextual variables.
Examples of High Touch Fund Appeal Card Packages
The following is an example of a High Touch Greeting fund appeal that has been particularly popular because its small size virtually guarantees that it will get opened.
We can't predict or guarantee your response. But one thing is an absolute certainty: an envelope that doesn't get opened doesn't raise money. We can get more of your mail opened* if it's addressed in one of our proprietary Computer HandScripts. And if you prefer, we can even create a custom Computer HandScript from samples of your own handwriting.
In addition to using canceled discount stamps, the Utah Youth outgoing envelope above does not use a logo, organizational name, or any other feature that would might mark it as mark as business mail. It truly looks personal.
Why do we do this?
To ensure your envelopes get opened. The only purpose for an envelope is to get the recipient to rip it open
and see what's inside. Were you to present your mail to the Post Office, however, it would probably be rejected, since
the regulations require that the origin of nonprofit or commercial bulk mail be clearly indicated on the outgoing envelope. However, High Touch has obtained a special writing from the USPS that allows us to send mail for our clients without these telltale business mail features on the outgoing envelope.
1. Cover of note card prints in color.
2. Message prints in black conventional font.
3. Salutation prints in black conventional font or blue or black Computer HandScript.
Alternatively, we can pre-print "Dear Friend"
in the salutation block, then strike it out and
print a blue or black personal HandScripted
salutation above it for a more personal touch.
Front and Back Cover
(this side is not personalized)
Copyright © High Touch Communication | firstname.lastname@example.org | 7412 Club View Drive, Suite 200 | Highland, CA 92346 | 909-864-2798
9. Bar codes are printed not above the address, but in the right corner where the Post Office does, so they won't scream: "I'm junk mail!"
10. Reply envelope prints 1/0 black.
11. Personal Reply Device or to be more personal...
12. We can eliminate the reply device and personalize the reply envelope instead if you want.
The two campaigns featured above used our A-1 MiniCard (4-3/4" x 6-1/2", folded down to 3-1/4" x 4-3/4")
Our next popular size is A-6 (6" x 9", folded down to 4-1/2"x6"). This is the size use with all our seasonal cards.
Our A-7 package is a bit larger (6-1/3" x 9-1/2" folded down to 6-1/3" x 4-3/4"). This allows a bit more space.
We focus on the card format because they get opened more often, but we also produce fund-appeal letters.
All cards are printed on 9-point 65# cover stock. Letters are printed on 70# text weight stock.
If you have a concept for a custom design, we can create a card or letter to your specifications.
Basic cards contain non-variable custom sentiments inside, printed in black.
Upgraded cards contain personalized salutations and notes.
All envelopes are addressed in blue Computer HandScript simulated handwriting.
If your mailing qualifies, we can affix and cancel discount stamps to create the look of first class mail.
Our all-inclusive operation includes all printing and mail shop services . . . we take all the work off your shoulders.
If preferred, we can box and send cards and envelopes to you to sign, address, stuff, stamp and mail.
Campaigns are all different and the samples above are only examples. We can customize to your special needs.
To Discusss a Campaign:
Call toll free: 888-HighTouch (888-444-4868) or direct: 909-864-2798
Write: 7412 Club View Drive, Suite 200; Highland, CA 92346
4. Personalized P.S. note prints in black or blue Computer HandScript
5. Outgoing Envelope (OGE) address in black or blue Computer HandScript.
6. Return address can print in black or blue Computer HandScript for no extra cost.
7. Live postage stamp is affixed.
8. Nonprofit, commercial bulk, and first class presort stamps are canceled to make them look like cards sent at the full first class mail rate. This can save up to 70% on postage & boost response over naked (not canceled) nonprofit mail by more than 25%.
(5-Bar: 4-1/8" x 5-5/8")
There is not much room for Computer HandScript personalization on a small reply device. But that's okay,
because with such notes, less is more. A brief personalized note emulates what one might actually do were she
or he adding a hand-personalized note going to a friend. But again . . . be forewarned--such lift notes must be
very brief if you decide to add them.
An Opinion About Reply Devices in General
The purpose of this genre of fund appeals is to emulate the look of personal correspondence in order to get more mail opened and read. Therefore, organizations are increasingly finding very good results with campaigns that simply eliminate the reply device altogether. Any technical advantage achieved by the automated processing of data from a reply device should never be allowed to override the fundamental purpose of an appeal package--to create get the mail opened and read. A little extra work in processing is worth the infinitely greater benefit of raising more net income. So consider eliminating reply devices altogether. If the IT department complains, buy them a pizza.
(3-1/4" x 4-3/4")
Ph.D. Research Conducted at Peter F. Drucker School of Management & Claremont School of Educational Studies
Research has shown that Computer HandScript-addressed mail can more than double response. The following
excerpts data from a four-year doctoral study conducted by Frank Dickerson on the language of fund raising. The research capped off four years of work at The Claremont Graduate University's Peter F. Drucker School of Management and with faculty in the university's School of Educational Studies. Frank also collaborated with Dr. Douglas Biber of Northern Arizona State University and Drs. Ulla Connor and Thomas Upton of Indiana University. The study analyzes both language (67 specific linguistic features) and paralanguage (physical characteristics of direct mail and online fund-raising discourse). Of the paralanguage variables studied (elements that work alongside text), two tests stand out . . .
1. A hand-personalized note card package versus one produced with Computer HandScript simulated handwriting.
2. A Computer HandScript simulated handwritten note card package versus a window envelope package.
What the Data Uncovered:
The following table reflects the results achieved in two segments of a series of mailing campaigns sent to more
than a million households by the American Heart Association. While we can neither promise nor predict your results, the study's findings are consistent with what other organizations have experienced, based on a thorough review of the published literature which included campaigns by several of our worthy competitors.
Two Salient campaigns Reported by The American Heart Association
Front and Back Cover
(this side is not personalized)
Our most common package targets current donors, asking them to repeat or increase their giving. Most providers offer a similar package for about $2.00 each. Ours start at less than half that cost. What's more, in doctoral research, A/B tests compared mail personalized in our Computer HandScript to identical mailings personalized by genuine human hand. Our Computer HandScript beat real handwriting!
(4-Bar: 3-5/8" x 5-1/8")