What should I include on a response card?

Quick Answer

As little as possible. Less is more.

If the response is coming to you (which it should, if possible), include spaces for the following:

  1. Name (address isn't needed)

  2. A set of checkboxes indicating what kind of support this is:

    • One-Time Extra Gift
    • Regular Giving
    • Increased Regular Giving
    • Sorry, can't support at this time

  3. A note saying that checks should be payable to your ministry (don't ask people to write anything on the memo line)

  4. A section for prayer requests (don't use lines)

If the response is going to your ministry, remove the prayer requests section, add a space for their address, and include your name and account number for the sake of the people processing the checks.

The Details

You want to make it as easy as possible for people to respond, so leave out anything that can possibly be left out. For instance, if the response is coming to you, you don't need to ask for their address. If they got the letter, it means the address you already have is correct. If they've moved recently, they'll probably let you know on the slip/card anyway.

In particular, don't include more than three or four checkboxes. We've seen people who want to get especially fine-grained who've included seven or more checkboxes. In addition to requiring really tiny print to fit all of them on the page, it takes over a minute for the person writing the check to figure out which box to check.

Also, your end-of-year "ask" is probably not the best time for requesting address updates, phone numbers, email addresses, or trying to lower your costs by asking people to receive your letters by email instead of print (we have some thoughts on how to combine print and email effectively, but that's a topic for another time). Save that for another mailing – the beginning of the calendar or school years are good times – and keep this one focused.

Keep it simple, use large print, and make it easy for people to respond.

See Also