What is a lift letter?

Photo by iirraa

In a recent nonprofit finance meeting, the question was asked “What is a lift letter?” It made me realize that this terminology might not be as common as I thought, and that it might be worthwhile to discuss and define it on this blog.

What is a lift letter?

A “lift letter,” a direct mail term, is a letter designed to “lift” the response rate of your mailing (which many argue it does effectively). For nonprofits, it typically is a personal letter from a donor, volunteer, program participant, or supporter (who writes it themselves normally – with your editing) that builds a case for the nonprofit and adds credibility. It is used in combination with the normal ask letter.

For example, you write your normal year-end appeal. At the bottom of your normal appeal, you have a p.s. that says something along the lines of “P.S. Please make sure to read Sally’s letter enclosed. Sally has fostered eleven dogs with us over the past decade and recently adopted Westin, a lab mix that was a rescued from a puppymilll.” Then enclosed with the year-end appeal is a smaller (perhaps half sheet) letter printed on a bright colored piece of paper from Sally that explains why X animal rescue is important to her, why she gave, etc. This small additional letter is designed to lift the response rate to the year-end appeal.

Read more about lift letters here.

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