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Australian Conservation Foundation: end of year appeal

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Appeal enclosures

Above: An interesting array of intriguing enclosures from both the initial appeal and the reminder. Below: The two letters.

First appeal - page 1First Appeal - page 2

First appeal - page 3First appeal - page 4

ACF: the first letter

The reminder - page 1The reminder - page 2

The reminder - page 3

The reminder letter.



More case studies from Australian Conservation Foundation

SOFII's view

This complex, well-planned and well-structured appeal generated results well ahead of previous achievements, clearly showing the benefits of combining sound creativity and a clear message with rigorous attention to detail in direct mail fundraising. And of course, asking appropriately and very directly for what the organisation needs, from each donor.

Medium of communication:
Direct mail.

Type of charity:

Target audience:
Individuals, single gift.

Country of origin:


Account director (Pareto Fundraising) – Jonathon Grapsas.
Account manager (Pareto Fundraising) – Janine Ferrie

Name of exhibitor:
Pareto Fundraising

Date of first appearance:
November, 2006.

The appeal was primarily seeking one-off cash donations from existing supporters of ACF. Specific objectives included: Increasing overall net income by 302 per cent on previous year.

  • Increasing overall gross income by 262 per cent on previous year.
  • Doubling previous year’s response rates to both the first and second wave mailings.
  • Increasing previous year’s average donation by 182 per cent.
  • Donor retention and care


The end of year appeal is a well-established feature of ACF’s annual fundraising programme. Traditionally it comprises a direct mail donation request that is followed up shortly after by a reminder mailing.

The second wave mailing, which for ACF is normally a newsletter, was amended to be a reminder to those that had not responded to the first request. The newsletter was changed from just a general update to an appeal that described the need in such a way that would, hopefully, compel donors to give.

Special Characteristics:
  • All pack components were created to ‘look and feel’ authentic in the expectation that, because of their relevance and quality, they would stand out and ‘cut through the clutter’ of other charity mailings. The pack provided the donor with an urgent, detailed and well-explained ask for support via a highly personalised letter supported by several interesting additional enclosures.
  • Various communications supporting the importance of this request were also sent to donors at different stages of the campaign. These included two emails (one a video message) asking the supporter to look out for an important letter that was coming their way. The main direct mail pack and the second follow-up mailing reminded non-responders to send their donation.
  • At this time the topic of climate change was at the forefront of supporters’ minds because media attention being given to it was keeping public attention to the issue at an all-time high, which helped the appeal considerably.
  • Both mailings contained a strong proposition and direct call to action: ‘Your support today will save the lives of our children and grandchildren by giving ACF the power to take actions that will stop dangerous climate change’.
  • ACF used these involvement devices –the initial report and the follow-up newsletter – as advocacy tools to improve response and allow supporters to engage in a personal campaigning action.
  • The mailing provided ACF supporters with high-quality educational information on climate change and the likely consequences if action isn’t taken immediately. This was explained throughout the letter text and illustrated visually through the use of a map of Australia, highlighting the likely impact on humans and other species.
  • Income generated was significantly higher than previous appeals.
  • With this appeal ACF reactivated and renewed the support of many of their lapsing, lapsed and dormant donors.
  • These mailings allowed ACF to double their climate change campaigning efforts, including more work to influence governments, businesses and the general public. This is a truly excellent result for fundraising direct mail.

No tests were undertaken in this campaign as the focus was heavily on raising as much net income as possible


All costs shown are exclusive of GST (Australian tax).

Agency fee


Print & production wave 1


Print & production wave 2






  • 439 per cent increase in net income from 2005 ($460k in 2006).
  • 34 per cent response rate compared with 10% from 2005.

This is a brilliant example of a credible, compelling and engaging direct mail piece to a warm audience that exceeded previous response and income by more than three times.

Other relevant information:

1. The first appeal outer envelope.
2. The main appeal four-page letter.
3 and 4. An article on the effects of climate change in Australia was also included, with a compliments slip signed by ACF’s director.
5. To reinforce the importance of this report a handwritten post-it note was attached to its front.
6. The main appeal reply form.
7. The main appeal reply paid envelope.
8. The second appeal lift letter.
9. The newspaper, ‘A Planet on the Brink’.

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