WHY DIRECT MAIL
Direct Mail is a tool for communication. As a tool for communicating the Gospel Message, the following should be considered.
I. DIRECT MAIL IS SCRIPTURAL
Personal letters are the most obvious New Testament method of church growth. Luke, John, James and Peter are still saying today,
“I care about you…”
“I beseech you…”
“Follow me as I follow Christ…”
You can write a letter or letters today that will have far ranging consequences: For example, Campus Crusade’s “Van Dusen Letter”… the letters of C.S. Lewis to an American Lady… etc.
II. WORLD POPULATION DEMANDS THE USE OF DIRECT MAIL
The rate of population increase is higher today than it has been since the rate of population increase of the children of Israel in Eqypt. (They doubled their population at least once every 14 years). Therefore, there is a greater need today than almost ever before for more efficient and economical means of communication.
Direct Mail is the most efficient and economical means of reaching people in the United States today.
Direct Mail is the only thing which can get into every home.
III. GOOD PRINCIPLES OF COMMUNICATION DEMAND THE USE OF DIRECT MAIL
One of the greatest wasters of productive time is spending time with suspects not prospects.
You can use the mail to qualify your leads,.. everyone is a suspect, but Direct Mail can help show you who the real prospects are.
IV. PRINCIPLES OF CHURCH GROWTH DEMAND THE USE OF DIRECT MAIL
Every church is made up of groupings of people which we call homogeneous units or spheres of influence. A church, apart from the use of media (direct mail, etc.), cannot reach out in its community beyond the spheres of its spheres of influence.
Because the commission of the local church is to reach everyone, it must use methods such as direct mail, to reach people outside its spheres of influence.
People won to Christ outside the spheres of present influence become essentially new spheres… and this makes for rapid, though potentially unstable growth.
RECAP: Christian workers are busy and often over taxed people.
Direct Mail can:
1. Qualify whom they ought to be spending their time with and…
2. Reinforce the ministry with those under their care at a low cost factor with a high degree of effectiveness.
10 REASONS PERSONAL LETTERS CAN HELP YOU REACH MORE PEOPLE
1. Personal letters are scriptural. Much of the New Testament is a collection of personal letters designed to help churches grow.
2. Personal letters say, “I care about you . . . you’re important to me.”
3. Personal letters communicate. They almost always get into the home and are read.
4. Personal letters increase your church’s sphere of influence by reaching families no one else in your church would otherwise contact.
5. Personal letters enable you to reach people with a powerful gospel witness in a very credible and acceptable manner.
6. Personal letters enable you to reach many more people each week in addition to personal visits.
7. Personal letters can produce many qualified leads to people who are interested and would like you to visit them.
8. Personal letters enable you to witness to people at the time of important events in life such as weddings, illness, accidents, bereavement, moving to a new area, new births, etc. These are often the very moments they are most responsive to the Holy Spirit.
9. Personal letters advertise your church and set it apart as “special”. Whenever a person who receives one of your letters thinks of church he will remember you.
10. Personal letters win souls . . . through enclosed literature, qualifying leads, and making a good impression for your church.
BASICS OF MOTIVATION
In order to understand the basics of motivation it is important first to understand its place in the scheme
All communication can be broken down into two areas:
INFORMATIONAL and MOTIVATIONAL.
The aim of INFORMATIONAL communication is as the term implies to inform the listener or reader… to add to their knowledge and even to prepare for the second kind of communication which is MOTIVATIONAL.
I. INFORMATIONAL and MOTIVATIONAL communication vary in several important aspects:
A. Informational communication is usually multi-subjected… Whereas, motivational communication should always hold to a single subject.
B. Informational communication is impersonal… Whereas, motivational communication is personal. In fact, must be as personal as possible!
C. Informational communication is best represented by mass media and motivational communication by personal media… in fact, increases its effectiveness the closer its approximates a one on one media.
A. “A motive is that within a person that excites him to action.”
B. There are two kinds of motivational communication.
1. EXTRINSIC MOTIVATION
All extrinsic motivation is aimed at triggering one or more of the intrinsic motivation emotions. The text of good extrinsic motivation is therefore: Does it trigger intrinsic motivation? For purposes of this study we want to study six of the basic Intrinsic motivations:
a. By creating a felt need to personal exposure to reality.
ILLUSTRATION: Tell it to story…
2. INTRINSIC MOTIVATION
Basic to the art of motivating people is the psychological makeup and spiritual response of those you are wanting to motivate. In this examination of intrinsic motivation we will deal with both psychological and spiritual aspects.
To motivate someone you need to release within them the emotions of fear, anger or love… or a combination thereof.
For example, if I were to write a direct mail piece in which I was raising money for the American Cancer Society, I would probably design it with the goal in mind to release and activate-the emotion of fear in the recipient/ potential donor. For example, I might attempt to create the impression that, “If we don’t find a cure for cancer within five years, there is a likelihood that the recipient/ potential donor would contract cancer themselves… Therefore, they should give in order to find a cure for cancer.”
Fear is an effective emotional activation on many socioeconomic levels. For example, the more sophisticated person might be more highly motivated to fear – over population. The poor or less educated people often are the prey of those who create undue or false fears of many sorts.
For example, recently the California Courts made a decision limiting the ability of World Vision, International from placing Cambodian orphans in only Christian homes, This decision was well used in a fund appeal to the constituents of the organization in a drive to raise funds to overthrow this court decision. In so doing, the appeal was based upon the activation of the emotion of anger in the recipient/potential donor over this injustice.
This emotional activation is highly effective on many fronts… for example, politically it would be advisably used by both the John Birch Society as well as the ACLU.
The people most likely to respond to this type of motivation are energetic or aggressive by nature… those with a good deal of idle time… the rich, the semi-retired, and the educated housewives.
Whereas the two previously mentioned emotional activations have some real danger points in their use, the use of love as an emotional activation in motivating is almost, if not always, positive and constructive… and certainly the safest and most effective to use.
For example, if you were to write a fund appeal to raise funds for a missionary friend who had just learned he had cancer and was in need of love and reassurance, as well as medical help, you would probably appeal for the funds based upon the recipient/potential donor’s love for the missionary or his family and loved ones.
People who are lonely and older are the most likely to respond to these appeals. However, it should be understood that everyone needs and is looking for love and so that without exception everyone is a potential respondee to motivation based upon this emotional activation.
Let me point out at this point that there are other emotions, but they are not primary to the “Basics of Motivation”. For example, there is the emotion of guilt. II Corinthians 7;10 tells us that there are two kinds of guilt: namely, “The sorrow of the world,..”, and “Godly sorrow”. The first is negative and produces a negative fruit (spiritual death) in the life of the person who possesses “the sorrow of the world”. The other guilt is a positive guilt, “Godly sorrow”, and leads to repentance (see verse 11).
In II Corinthians 7:11 it lists the fruits of repentance and a careful examination will show that they all are expressions of one or more of the primary emotional activations (fear, anger and love).
III. CULTURAL CONSIDERATIONS IN THE USE OF LOVE
We must recognize that there are many different cultures within the world community and a careful examination of these cultures shows that they vary in their ability to appropriately manifest love. For example, Latin American peoples appear to Anglos to possess more love than fellow Anglos… However, in
reality their culture has provided them with more appropriate means of manifesting the love they possess.
In fact, to the author’s knowledge, the Anglo-Saxon people are the most frigid when it comes to the manifestation of love of any of the major cultures of our world.
Because of this, there is a greater felt need for love among Anglo-Saxons (for our purposes here, Americans). Therefore, a heightened response can be expected by the proper use of the emotional activation of love.
IV. BE AWARE!!
Remember that these three emotions: fear, anger, and love are personal emotions, they are “close” to a person. And because they are personal emotions they ought not to be expressed impersonally, or that is by an impersonal media. If they are expressed by an impersonal media they will create a creditability gap.
In other words: NEVER SAY SOMETHING PERSONAL…IMPERSONAL.
One helpful exercise that you might do at this point would be to try and write down how many different ways you could write or say, “I love you”.
Now let us give you two practical applications of the “Basics of Motivation”…
v. THE UPGRADE FACTOR
We have found that the process of philanthropy is three-sided, that is:
1) Solicitation of Gifts
2) The Act of Giving
3) Response to Giving
We have already discussed number 1), that is, the Solicitation of Gifts, and in that solicitation we need to
activate one or the combination of the three basic emotions of motivation: fear, anger and love. Number 2) is the Act of Giving or the response of the donor.
And then we come to the last and most neglected part of philanthropy… that is 3) THE RESPONSE ON THE PART OF THE SOLICITOR.
This response needs to be:
A. “IN KIND”
That is it ought to be in the same basic form and personal intensity as was the “act of giving”. For example, if the person handed you the gift and said, “Here, take it”, you would physically receive the gift and verbally thank them. By the same token if a person writes you a letter giving you the gift, you ought to write them. If they personally sign the check, you ought to personally sign the letter, etc.
B. “TWO NECESSARY INGREDIENTS…”
The response ought to contain two necessary ingredients. The first is the expression of your thanks and the second is a reinforcement of their motive in giving… or “Here’s what your gift was used for”.
The Upgrade Factor is not even a cycle, but rather an upgrade spiral. In other words, if the response is carried out quickly and appropriately the donor is automatically prepared to make a continuing response. Contrariwise, if the response is left off entirely or is not made “in kind”, there is a credibility gap which is created and retards further philanthropy on the part of the donor.
The correct application of this factor to the processes of philanthropy always brings very rewarding results.
VI. PROGRESSIVE THEMES IN MOTIVATION
The second practical application is an “Introduction to Progressive Themes in Motivation”
One such progressive theme which we use to attack the problem of attrition has four steps to it:
A. Theme: “I love you..I care about you”
B. Theme: “Neglect”
C. Theme: “Inability”
D. Theme: “Disenchantment”
1. In application to fund raising for example, let’s assume a donor has made a monthly commitment to a particular project and this month they do not send in their commitment. The response should be a letter with the theme: “I love you… I care about you”.
2. The next month there is still no response and so the letter now has the theme: “Neglect”
3. “The third month comes without a donation and a letter is sent with the theme:”Inability”
4. And finally, on the fourth month of no response a letter is sent using the theme: “Disenchantment”