Conrad Squires

Conrad SquiresWe are not in the business of Direct Marketing. There are hundreds that do this, and a small handful that we can recommend that are outstanding.

We do offer a service, however, unique to our firm. We critique an organization’s Direct Mail program. No one else offers this service. We provide objective, observations. Some painful! But always wonderfully helpful.

For this special service, we have Con Squires on our staff. He is likely one of the most successful practitioners in this crowded field.

He is Harvard cum laude, and former President of the National Copy Clinic. He has written monthly columns in the two leading periodicals for fundraisers. He is author of “Teach Yourself to Write Irresistible Fundraising Letters.” He is well-known to hundreds of development officers as a wise and sympathetic counselor who has used his own experiences in the field to coach and guide people toward ever-increasing success.

He has worked with over a thousand clients.  Some have included the largest, such as the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, Paralyzed Veterans of America, (for whom he produced a letter that helped PVA build a 40,000,000-piece donor base), United Jewish Appeal, Massachusetts General Hospital, and many more.

His vast success in the mail can perhaps be credited to the fact that from the beginning he connected the pieces he wrote, and the way he wrote them, to the responses they received. Every time a letter had a little bump upward and drew slightly more than the expected response, he learned something. Every time a letter had a little drop downward and drew slightly less than the expected response, he learned something.  Studying every single mailing he was ever involved in, has led him to have a strong sense of what copy techniques worked most powerfully and which ones were to be avoided.

Over time, and as a regular part of generating his monthly newsletter that had more than 2,000 subscribers, he was able to develop a simple two-page evaluation of the likelihood of success or failure for every fundraising letter. This is something an astute client might use to find and increase the strength of the letters, and likewise eliminate any weak points. This tool, which became quite invaluable and has often been copied but never excelled, is called a CopyRaterä.  A score above a certain level means a letter is likely to succeed.

This tool, it must be added, is not foolproof. It does not insure that correct lists are used. Or that the timing of the mailing is right. Or the possible impact of any of the other “ponderables” that can damage a letter or help make it a home run. But, Squires claims, used correctly it puts the user well ahead of the game. Sometimes flaws in letter copy, if thought through, can turn up flaws in planning or in an organization’s evaluation of itself.
Over time, Squires has focused more and more on whole campaigns and year-long strategies. This is because many of the same techniques that can be studied and applied in copy are valid through every stage of any campaign. As a result, he has helped many organizations begin, develop, and design healthy, flourishing direct mail programs that are good year after year after year.

His particular joy, says Squires, is that over the years he has been involved in campaigns that have raised many billions of dollars. He takes no credit for this. It is always the organization’s own worth that is the final determinant of success. But he also understands his important role and knows he has been of help.

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