I just received this mailing from the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) association. The organization is well known in the direct mail community for its fundraising packages featuring address labels as a gift for donations. This package stood out in the mail for it's size (5" x 11.5") and the fact that it not only contained the usual address labels, but also a real, live nickel.
It's been a while since I've seen any nickel (or penny) kits, as we in the direct mail biz like to call them. For many clients, these kits are too expensive to produce UNLESS you have a huge mailing list, which the PVA undoubtedly has. At small quantities, packages with real, live coins tipped on can be extremely cost-prohibitive. But at larger quantities, and when you count in vendor relationships with the client/agency producing the kit, it's entirely possible to come in at budget.
The coin acts as a kind of envelope opener - much the same way a plastic card works to get envelopes opened.
(At one time, I seem to remember some direct marketers shying away from inserting coinage into kits and showing the "money" through the envelope, because there was a wave of undeliverable mail and suspicion/reports of kits being "stolen" to collect the change.)
Nevertheless, the creative challenge that comes with the execution of a successful nickel or penny kit is in how you tie the coin to the offer. In this PVA package, that challenge is met two ways:
1) With some great letter copy! From the headline to the close of the letter ("For many of these vets who are down to their last few nickels, Paralyzed Veterans of America - and you - are their last hope!), the copy works to persuade the recipient to make a donation.
2) With an extra push of a yellow sticky note, affixed to the business reply envelope, which echoes the letter's P.S. ("P.S. Even if you can't send a gift today, please return the enclosed nickel as a symbol of your support - Paralyzed Veterans of America needs every nickel to continue to provide vital services to veterans who have sacrificed so much in the service of our country.")
Another fine example of fundraising done right. Kudos to the PVA creative team for a well-put-together nickel kit.