Five Maples’ Direct Mail Fundraising Blog

If they don’t read anything else, they will read the PS.

“Over 90 percent of readers read the PS before the letter It is the first paragraph, not the last.”

So found Professor Siegfried Vogele in his famous studies of direct mail response (Voegele, Handbook of Direct Mail, p 202).

You might think including a PS is trite or corny. The gurus of direct mail fundraising don’t think so. They always include a PS because they know it delivers.

So, if letter scanners, and that’s most of our readers, head right for the PS, what should we say there? One school of thought: Put the main reason for giving and the ask in the PS  It’s a one or two sentence summary of the reason for giving and the request to give.

Here are two examples from letters we wrote for clients:

PS As a not-for-profit hospital, we rely on your gift to help us support thousands of our neighbors who do not have the ability to pay, by providing free or reduced fee services. Please make an annual fund gift now of {Ask1}, {Ask2}, {Ask3}, or {Ask4} to help ensure that our professionals can continue to provide the compassionate care that benefits us all and makes our community so special.

PS  When we began planning for our new building, it was important to us that EVERYONE in our community feel welcome in the Y. But without your donation, some would be left outside looking in. Please help us provide access to all by returning your donation today.

Legendary direct mail fundraiser Mal Warwick advises something different:. “Use the PS instead to disclose some benefit or intriguing fact…that’s not discussed in the body copy. Make the PS irresistibly interesting.” (Warwick, How to Write Successful Fundraising Letters, p 89).

That’s good advice. It’s also easier said than done! So Mal helpfully includes 58 examples in an appendix. Many of them are more engaging ways to ask.

Here’s an example of that approach from a letter we wrote:

PS Renew your membership now, and put the members-only holiday gift shopping days on your calendar. Visit Hancock Shaker Village on November 26th, 27th and 28th to receive dramatic savings on all Shaker gifts!

Direct mail fundraiser Jerry Huntsinger has more good examples in his lesson on the use of PSs on the Sofii website. I couldn’t agree more with this advice from Jerry: “Regardless of how you use your PS, never fail to ask for action. This is what a fundraising letter is all about.”

Need help getting out your spring fundraising appeal?

Whether you need lists, data-work, printing and mailing, or help with writing, design and editing, we are ready to help you! Call me at 800-437-7780 ext 104, or Email Me Today!

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