Why Direct Mail


Direct Mail is a tool for communication. As a tool for  communicating the Gospel Message, the following should be  considered.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


In order to understand the basics of motivation it is  important first to understand its place in the scheme
of communication:

All communication can be broken down into two areas:

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.

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…


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).


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.


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.


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”…


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:


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.


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.



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”