The New York City Rescue Mission is one of my two favorite charities (the other is Smile Train).
They both mail quite a bit and with different creative approaches that are all consistently excellent. This may be the Rescue Mission’s best. I think they use it twice a year, once for Thanksgiving and once for Christmas.
The headline is simple and brilliant: COMPLETE THANKSGIVING DINNER ONLY $2.09. A quibbler might have two quibbles: “They’re offering you a complete Thanksgiving dinner?” or “To whom are they offering a complete Thanksgiving dinner?”
Neither is a problem because, showing through the window and right above the headline, is the name and return address of the Rescue Mission. That makes it instantly clear that the headline means, as the letter says, “send us $2.09 and we’ll give a complete Thanksgiving dinner to one of New York’s neediest people.”
The exactness of the $2.09 hits the perfect note. Some marketers would recommend making the amount under two dollars, as in $1.99. That would be a mistake because it is obviously phony. Two dollars and nine cents is cheap as hell for a complete Thanksgiving dinner.
The “asks” on the response card are for a lot more than $2.09 but they are always a multiple of $2.09 – “$68.97 to help 33 people” for example.