PK Scribe Fundraising and Sales Copywriter
PK Scribe Home
PK Scribe Copywriting Services
Karen Zapp Copywriting Portfolio
Articles by Karen Zapp
Products by Karen Zapp
PK Scribe Additional Resources
PK Scribe Professional Associations
Testimonials for Karen Zapp
About Karen Zapp and PK Scribe
Contact PK Scribe
Member, Association of Fundraising Professionals
Member, American Society of Association Executives
Resources – Newsletter Archive

June, 2006

Welcome to "Karen's Fundraising Tips." Today's newsletter (which you can read in 3-5 minutes ... tops) includes ideas to bolster the power of your premiums. And there's also information on an upcoming conference for fundraisers, copywriters, graphic designers, marketers ... essentially anyone involved in fundraising and direct marketing.

With regard to my newsletter in general - on the second Tuesday of each month I share tips, news items, and resources all tailored for the non-profit world and folks directly responsible for raising funds. My goal is to make your job a little easier and to help you increase your donor contributions.

What is your biggest challenge? Send me a short note with one or two of your biggest challenges. I'll share suggestions on making them less of a challenge in a future issue. Just send an email to and I'll take it from there.

How to Be Creative with Premiums
[480 words]

The right premium can boost response. Simply stated, any premium should satisfy three primary criteria:

  1. Low cost to the non-profit organization;
  2. High perceived value to the donor; and
  3. Relevant to the organization and its mission.

The most response stimulating premiums satisfy all three of these criteria. And the third element — relevant to the organization — is tied closely to what Jerry Huntsinger refers to as "tactile response." (J. Huntsinger – "Dean" of direct mail fundraising - has over 40 years of copywriting experience for non-profits.)

Humans receive sensory information by handling an object with their fingertips. So when the envelope contains an object the donor can feel, handle, turn over and look at, and feel positive about ... you've got a better chance of winning her attention while reading your letter.

There are a few other features to strive for in addition to the three above:

  • Three dimensional to create a lumpy envelope (peaks curiosity)
  • Ensure it is of good quality
  • The premium is consumable (e.g., stickers, greeting cards) so it needs to be replaced

Of all the elements, I believe the greatest creative challenge is choosing a premium with a relevant connection to your organization. Get this right and the premium turbo charges the package and response. Let's explore a few examples.

A Christian non-profit mails a cross as a premium. Trouble is ... a cross relates to every Christian non-profit, including the local church on the corner. It isn't unique to your specific mission.

If you're mailing a crisis letter to replace the leaky roof for example, how about a strip of duct tape stuck on a piece of cardboard or small piece of wood? Then write how every gift of $50 buys 5 feet of roofing felt and 10 square feet of shingles. We're running out of duct tape and tarp to slow down the leaks. A complete replacement is urgently needed before our church artifacts are destroyed forever.

How about an environmental group? It's not too practical to mail a bottle of fresh air ... but what about a blade of grass for natural habitat preservation? Say something about how with your generous donation of $35 we can save 8000 blades of grass over a 100 square foot area. Just the amount of space an XYZ bird needs for nesting.

It's also vital to have copy that links the premium to the mission or crisis in an intriguing or captivating way. Don't assume it's obvious.

The overarching secret to a successful premium is creativity. Create an object relevant to your mission. An object your donor can touch, feel, turn over and examine. One that actively engages your donor while she reads your captivating letter. The donor is starting to connect with you. She's taking a giant step toward making a donation because her involvement has begun.

The right premium can improve response. So start brainstorming and test ideas that meet the three primary criteria and as many of the other features as possible. And have fun!

There is another interesting article on premiums in the May 30, 2006 issue of Fundraising Success Advisor. The article is titled: "Two Premium Response Boosters" and this link will take you to it (but please don't click it just yet — more important news found below):

Hot Tip of the Month
[96 words]

There is a conference coming up in July I highly recommend you attend:

2006 Bridge To Integrated Marketing and Fundraising
July 12-14, 2006 in Washington D.C.

This is the first joint conference hosted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (D.C. chapter) and the Direct Marketing Association of Washington. They have a very strong program lined up with topics relating to both direct marketing and fundraising.

I'll be there and hopefully will also bump into you at one of the educational sessions or in the exhibit hall. Learn more about it and register to attend at

Feel free to forward my newsletter to a colleague. Plus, here's how they can sign-up to receive it directly:

1. Just click on this link, In the email message to me, please include the first name and email address of your colleague. I'll take care of signing them up.

Or ...

2. You can sign them up directly on my website by following this link:

"Karen's Fundraising Tips"

Question for me?

Is there a topic you'd like me to cover in a future issue? Click on the link to send me your question:

Thanks for joining me and until next time ...

All the best,

Karen Zapp, Fundraising & Sales Copywriter
Perceptive Karen

Have a project coming up soon? I’d love to work with you on it. Just get in touch and we'll explore the possibilities together.


Return to Karen Zapp’s Newsletter Archive page


Call anytime and we’ll chat about your needs: 800-794-1609
I look forward to helping you prosper.

Home | Services | Portfolio | Articles | Testimonials | Professional Associations
About | Resources | Contact | Periodic News | Terms of Use | Privacy Notice

© Copyright 2006-2007     PK Scribe, LLC     All rights reserved