save the postage

We have a wonderful library here on the island. It’s part of a larger library syndicate system or something. I’m sorta vague on how that all works, but I know it’s a great library and because of the various economic/governmental/tax whatevers their funding has been cut. Now our branch is open fewer hours yet that doesn’t change that it’s still a great library. They have great events, seminars and workshops. And they have books: paper, audio and ereaders!

I believe in books. I love libraries. I was startled when I moved up here that a small town like this had such an extraordinary library.

So when I went to the mailbox today there was a letter from the president of the foundation that is trying to support the library. I’m in the business, so I knew that as I was opening the letter, I was mentally opening our checkbook, too.

The letter was compelling, although really ugly (everyone does know that color is basically the same price as black and white, right?).

I managed to stay with the letter in spite of the bad design because page one of the letter told me all the ways the library was wonderful. He gave me great examples that had me nodding my head (if you’ve heard me speak about this moment, it was that “lean-in” moment).

Hoots and Thomas were going to write a check…the only question was how much.

Page 1 ended at the end of a sentence, the end of a paragraph (bad) but I’m still leaning-in, page 1 was good stuff.

I flipped over to page 2 even though it violated most of the rules of compelling direct response design because I was ready to give. (Hoots loves libraries more than I do so it was a done deal).

Sadly, page 2 was some blah, blah…and no compelling call to action.

Worse, the P. S. which wasn’t all that easy to spot (BIG indent) asked me to watch Facebook for upcoming events.

Ack! As the teenagers at our house would say: “Epic fail.”

No check from us…or I suspect, a lot of other people.

If you won’t tell me what to give and why it’s important and what happens if I don’t give…I’m like most people. I won’t give.

It’s practically 4th Quarter. The economy is tight, so they say.

So if your cause is as wonderful as you believe it to be… ASK ME (and anyone else you connect with) TO GIVE…and tell me what happens if I DON’T. (And if you’re all worked up about your cause, underline or boldface a little to show me you’re passionate about the need, it’s OK, I understand passion).


Those of us out here in Donorland, really enjoy giving when you’ve helped us know why we should give and given us a call to action. That’s not marketing-speak that’s reality.

The bottom line: if you’re not going to make a strong call-to-action, save the postage.

How about you? Are you offended when a cause you love asks you to give? What do you think about my insistence on a “why?” Honestly, I love hearing from you.

Steve Thomas
Partner, Oneicity

(photo credit: indie bands with a mission)

Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas

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