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Welcome to the Donor Doctor with your host James Newberry. On today’s show, James discusses the Secrets to Using the Right Carrier.

The Cardinal Rule of Envelope Copy

According to Herschell Lewis, the only purpose of the carrier envelope is to get itself opened. It does not just serve to keep the contents from popping out or spilling out onto the street.

None would want to feel like being swindled when they open a carrier envelope. To help us determine which one to use in fundraising, James presents the different types of carriers.

Types of Carriers

Carriers play an important role, especially in direct mail. As James puts it, the whole package stems from deciding which carrier to use. The following are the twelve types of carriers:

  1. Dimensional Carriers – These usually come in boxes and tubes. Related to it are file folders, button-and-string envelopes, and square envelopes.
  2. Personal Stationery – These are carefully crafted to look more appealing. One may use good handwritten fonts and a windowless envelope to attract attention.
  3. Exclusive Carriers – These are upscale versions of the personal stationery, and tends to make people think they’re special.
  4. Affinity or Interest Carriers – They make use of the donor’s specific niche or interests to catch attention. It goes on to impart a special bond between the donor and the recipient.
  5. Curiosity Carriers – These offer interesting teasers that would intrigue people to see what the message is really about. An example teaser is: “One woman’s struggle against Bill Clinton.”
  6. Pain Carriers – These are specifically great for animals. It follows the idea that pain leads to action. Many people can’t help but want to support a cause to help lessen the pain. It’s simply difficult to ignore.
  7. Emergency Carriers – These are great for emergencies. People sometimes, however, just pretend that an actual emergency exists.
  8. Blank or No Carrier – This consists of a letter attached to a reply envelope. It’s mysterious in a way that the message isn’t sealed at all.
  9. Famous Signer – This type of carrier is signed by famous personalities. Donors tend to find it interesting to receive one such package.
  10. Outrage Carriers – They are great for political mailings, and designed in a provoking way like burning flags. It follows the idea that heightened emotions lead to action.
  11. Guilt Carriers – They show or tell something of value. An example is attaching a quarter or a dollar to the letter. Anything that would make people feel guilty if they fail to respond.
  12. Con Carriers – These do not really aim to deceive people. To make them effective, providing sufficient truth is important so as not to totally infuriate the donor.

To hear more about the different types of carriers and become more productive in raising funds, download and listen to Secrets to Using the Right Carrier.

If you’re short on time, here are the highlights of Secrets to Using the Right Carrier:

Primary rule of envelope copy? (0:46)

12 Types of carriers? (2:55)

Sample curiosity carriers? (7:26)

Sample guilt carriers? (13:28)

Insights on teasers? (16:10)


Have a podcast in 30 days

Without headaches or hassles


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