Inspiring Generosity


Why I Opened this Envelope

              Are envelopes important? Why yes, yes they are.

I don’t know about you, but I get a lot of junk mail. Political ads (Vote for me!), non-profit letters (Send money now!), real estate requests (Sell your house to me!), and catalogues (Wear this and you’ll be beautiful!).
I’ve gotten pretty good about determining what I immediately recycle and what makes me consider going all the way and saying “Yes! I’ll take a chance and look inside the envelope.”
One such letter arrived just a week ago. You can see it in the photo below. Here’s what hooked me:
1. My address was in blue (not black) and it appeared that a sweet little-old lady had hand-written it.
2. There were three real stamps. It seemed as if someone had done it by hand.
3. The return address was a stick-on label – it looked like the thousands I have clogging up my mail drawer – so, it must be personal, right?

Had someone written me a special letter? Was there going to be a nice note written to me at the end of the letter? What little old lady had written my address so nicely?
I should have known better.
No one handwrote the envelope. It was (if you can believe this) a font made to look a little shaky.
The three stamps nowhere near added up to a first-class stamp.
The return address label, however, was real. But still, I should've been a bit more suspicious.
The good news: I opened the envelope.
The bad news: I felt duped. I still have a bad taste in my mouth about my experience.
Spoiler alert: Though I was impressed by the lengths they went to get me to open the envelope, I did not send any money.
What this means for you –
When you send out a mailing to people who know and love your work, you want them to open the envelope to read what important things you are doing. What lives you are touching. What needs you have.
Make your envelope one that people want to open. But please, be authentic.
1. Get a group of people to hand-address your envelopes.
2. Add a unique first-class stamp.
3. Peel off an interesting-looking return address label that has your name on it.
Getting your letters opened (especially mass mailings) is important. But getting them opened should not come at the expense of your integrity.
Pick out two mailings a year that will get the “extra special” treatment.
It’s a great way to show personality.
It’s a great way to be more personal.
It’s a great way to get the envelope opened.
Now, let me get back to the recycling bin.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. For 25 years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she has helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. Want to see how crazy the real estate market is? Check out this funny piece. You can reach Cesie at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity or at CesieScheuermann.com.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.