Here’s a curious little study — Post-it Note Persuasion: A Sticky Influence — forwarded to The Agitator by reader Tina Cincotti.

In this research project, participants were sent a survey packet and asked to complete the survey. Some packets included an affixed personalized Post-it note. Some packets had no note or other variations.

Those receiving the personalized Post-it note on their packet had significantly higher return rates, and returned their surveys more promptly with higher quality responses.

Now, the lesson here is not to rush out and put Post-it notes on all your mail. Obviously that’s impractical (although it might be wise to test this on a major donor appeal).

Rather, for me the study is just a reminder of the value of a personal touch … however you can accomplish that under the circumstances of any given mail or email campaign.

Note that telemarketing campaigns do this inherently — “Good evening Tom. Just calling to thank you …” — and that’s a major reason they (when properly crafted) produce strong results.

Use what you know about your donor, whenever you can.

Tom

P.S. I’ll stick with my conclusion. However, in fairness I should note that, as structured, this research showed that personalization alone didn’t account for the lift in responses, the actual use of the Post-it note made a difference. Here’s the academic conclusion:

“The Post-it message can be viewed by the recipient as a personal appeal or request for a favor, conjuring strong societal norms of polite, reciprocal compliance resulting in not only higher return-rates but also qualitatively enhanced responses, and a more prompt completion of the task.”

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