Direct mail showcase
Eihei Dogen fundraising letter: from 1235
Sent in the year 1235, this may be the oldest fundraising letter on record. It is also an extraordinarily competent appeal that identifies the different types of people that the writer wishes to address.View this exhibit.
Botton Village ‘Frances’ pack
Botton Village was a pioneer of relationship fundraising. This is fundraising direct mail as it should be – sincere, engaging, heart-warming and very compelling.View this exhibit.
Fund for a Free South Africa: high value mailing
Apart from its historical value this colourful, beautifully-crafted direct mail appeal package, designed to create maximum impact from a carefully targeted group.View this exhibit.
International Campaign for Tibet Freedom: bracelet appeal
Practical incentives are an important part of the direct mail fundraiser’s skills and this is a particularly appealing idea.View this exhibit.
Dr Barnardo’s Homes: four fundraising greats from the distant past
Dr Thomas Barnardo was one of the Victorian era’s great philanthropists. These archive examples of his personal fundraising style and efforts are a unique treasure for the body of fundraising knowledge and best practice.View this exhibit.
Ryton Gardens: recyclable mailing
Ryton Garden’s famous recyclable mailing is one of the best ever examples of the benefits fundraisers can realise when they show that they really understand their donors.View this exhibit.
Operation Raleigh: toilet paper mailingView this exhibit.
Womankind Worldwide: donor recruitment mailing
This high quality direct mail package cleverly involves donors in delivering support and practical encouragement to a real individual.View this exhibit.
Australian Conservation Foundation: end of year appeal
By changing the way that donors were asked for support, ACF was able to triple income and response with this mailing. It is a brilliant example of a credible, compelling and engaging direct mail piece to a warm audience.View this exhibit.
Amnesty International: the pen pack
Amnesty needed a powerful and effective means of recruiting new donors to their great cause. This was it. This was, as far as we know, the first ever occasion when a free pen was included in an acquisition mailing, in the UK at least. This mailing was both brilliantly successful and started a trend that led to a flood of imitatorsView this exhibit.
CPAR: ‘plant a tree in Ethiopia’ mailing
Ethiopia has to be one of the most difficult fundraising markets in the world. Yet this pack produced results that most more sophisticated fundraisers can only dream of.View this exhibit.
St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians
This may not be the world’s earliest ever recorded mention of fundraising but it could well be the first ever example of a fundraising director exhorting his troops to achieve their targets. Or, do you know different?View this exhibit.
Jesse Jackson’s bid for the White House, 1988
Twenty years before the world had ever heard of Barack Obama, the Reverend Jesse Jackson was breaking new political ground with his campaign.View this exhibit.
Make–A–Wish Foundation: high value direct mail appeal
The innovative proposal format singles out this interesting, informative and award-winning direct mail pack for special attention on SOFII.View this exhibit.
NARAL Leadership Circle: membership renewal
The concept behind NARAL’s leadership circle is straightforward. It’s a high- value giving group and it seems to work. This renewal mailing effectively uses all the drama of a current cause along with a number of practical devices to gain and secure the donor’s attention and involvement.View this exhibit.
The National Park Foundation ‘Plan for Parks’ mini-proposal
A strikingly competent direct mail upgrade appeal, designed to look just like the kind of intriguing and personalised proposal that a major donor might expect. It incorporated a personalised ‘mini-proposal,’ mimicking the sort of materials more frequently presented to prospective major donors following a face-to-face meeting.View this exhibit.
Paul the apostle motivates his church’s donors – c. 56 AD
This could be the first ever appeal for regular, committed donors. In the early days of the Christian church the missionary Paul asked his supporters in the city of Corinth to set aside a small portion of their income regularly, to sustain victims of a famine and then later to support good works generally.View this exhibit.
CHATS Norooz letter, in Farsi
It’s an ancient truism of fundraising that if you want to communicate with donors you must speak to them in their language, not yours. Here’s a small example that paid off in practice.View this exhibit.
Canadian Diabetes Association: Diabetes Summer Surge Campaign
This exhibit is an excellent example of how you can maximise the potential of your existing donors in an impressively short amount of time.View this exhibit.
Bruce Barton’s fundraising letters for Deerfield Academy, from the 1940s.
Written between 1944 and 1960, the 22 letters in this series reputedly raised over US$2 million. Serious direct mail copywriters will study these letters carefully and will profit accordingly.View this exhibit.
Association of International Cancer Research: Inspiring Stories Book.
By creating real, personal, one-to-one conversations, AICR not only inspired their supporters, they also made them feel as though they really cared.View this exhibit.
Bruce Barton’s fundraising letters for Deerfield Academy: From 1945, letters three, four and five.
These letters are masterful examples of wrapping up serious information in easy conversational style. Find letters three, four and five here.View this exhibit.
WWF Year of the Tiger – Christmas appeal 2009
This is an excellent example of how one campaign with an urgent and compelling message can be tailored and shaped to fit different types of donor.View this exhibit.
Bruce Barton’s fundraising letters for Deerfield Academy: from 1946/47, letters six, seven and eight.
Featured here are letters six, seven and eight from the 21 letters in this SOFII series, three more fine examples of the fundraising letter-writer’s art from an age gone by.View this exhibit.
St Dunstan’s: help blind heroes interactive acquisition campaign.
By combining a commanding and touching story with an interactive grit ‘reaction test’, they have managed to design a campaign that will both move and interest people.View this exhibit.
How Harvard University got its name - major gift fundraising in the seventeenth century.
The examples in this exhibit are almost 400 years old, yet it would seem that we are still making the same mistakes today when it comes to major gift fundraising.View this exhibit.
The Children’s Hospital Trust operating theatre complex campaign
This is a good example of how different types of fundraising can work alongside one another to create a successful campaign with a broad appeal.View this exhibit.
Bruce Barton’s fundraising letters for Deerfield Academy continue with letters nine, 10 and 11, from 1948 and 1949.
Reporting back, storytelling and irresistible offers – more fundraising gems from Bruce Barton.View this exhibit.
Bruce Barton’s fundraising letters for Deerfield Academy: from the turn of the 1950s, letters 12, 13 and 14
It’s a delight now to add letters 12, 13 and 14 to this growing SOFII series featuring legendary writer Bruce Barton’s brilliantly conversational direct mail letters for Deerfield Academy.View this exhibit.
Cancer Research UK’s letter from cancer
At first glance you might think, wow, this mailing from Cancer Research UK is clever and a bit different. It surely will make people angry enough so that they give money that will beat cancer: an admirable ambition. But what would you think if you have cancer?View this exhibit.
The National Asthma Campaign: straws mailing
This revolutionary pack features an irresistible involvement device, an easily detachable plastic drinking straw that readers are invited to detach, open and breathe through for less than a minute. It is an imaginative way of involving recipients and enabling them to feel for themselves what it’s like to live with asthma.View this exhibit.
Amnesty International: the letter in the pen pack
Now on SOFII, one of the letters that was sent with the legendary Amnesty pen pack. This moving example of fine writing was written specifically for women and sent to women only.View this exhibit.
Bruce Barton’s fundraising letters for Deerfield Academy: from 1951, letter 15
With all the usual captivation and craftsmanship of a classic Bruce Barton letter, this provides a very valuable lesson in donor care from 60 years ago that is just as relevant today.View this exhibit.
Bruce Barton’s fundraising letters for Deerfield Academy: from 1955 and 1956, letters 16 and 17
A four-year gap between Bruce Barton’s letters for Deerfield Academy in no way diminished his exceptional capacity for penning a powerful appeal. Read, reflect and recycle, for there is real treasure here.View this exhibit.
Bruce Barton’s fundraising letters for Deerfield Academy: from 1956 and 1957, letters 18 and 19
There’s no trickery in these letters, no artifice, no phoney PSs. Just direct, honest talking put in such an endearing and charming way as to become irresistible for those recipients who share the writer’s enthusiasm for Deerfield Academy and his passionate belief that it should give the best education possible to its students.View this exhibit.
Bruce Barton’s fundraising letters for Deerfield Academy: from 1957 and 1958, letters 20 and 21
Bruce Barton’s letters are all about the donors’ achievements, so are welcome news packed with flattery and tales of selflessness and fine motives.View this exhibit.
Bruce Barton’s fundraising letters for Deerfield Academy: from 1960, letter 22
It has been a pleasure and a privilege to bring you all these letters from that master of direct mail letterwriting, Bruce Barton. But, as the infamous ‘they’ say, ‘all good things must come to an end’. Yes, this is the last SOFII has. But, of course, as they also say, ‘the glass is half full’, so maybe there are more out there that will find their way to SOFII.View this exhibit.
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT*: ‘tea for two’ appeal
A double award-winner from the Guide Dogs of New South Wales that surpassed previous appeals not only in money but in showing how that the organisation does so much more for blind people, young and old, than training dogs: adorable as they might be.View this exhibit.
RNLI: train one, save many campaign
A campaign from RNLI with a simple but powerful theme, message, image and call to action.View this exhibit.
The Salvation Army UK Christmas appeal 2010
Some donors have rational reasons for giving, some have emotional reasons and some go on a journey. Our strategy was to model this behaviour, to take the insight and analysis to new levels of understanding.View this exhibit.
Great Ormond Street Hospital Christmas mailing in 1941
What an achievement for Great Ormond Street Hospital’s fundraisers during the Second World War, someone kept their mailing for 70 years.View this exhibit.
Hannah’s innovative direct mail appeal
Is real talent something you are born with, or can create, if you work at it really hard and smart? At best, we feel, it’s a bit of both.View this exhibit.
Wood Green, The Animals Charity’s urgent £3 food appeal
Wood Green, The Animals Charity changed their fundraising strategy and are now achieving better ROIs on their cold recruitment campaigns than ever before.View this exhibit.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service, Victoria: direct mail to buy a jet
This award-winning mailing certainly caught the eye of donors – donations received soared passed their target. The newsletter must have been especially good – 750 people gave again even though they hadn’t been asked.View this exhibit.
Arrels Fundació: cardboard hearts for the homeless
Arrels Fundació have come up with an excellent way to wear your heart on your sleeve to raise money and awareness of the growing number of homeless people in Barcelona. It is also easily copied.View this exhibit.
Parkinson’s UK: the Dave the Worm campaign
Dave the Worm (DTW) is a fun and witty character that is enabling Parkinson’s UK to compete in a crowded marketplace by presenting research to donors in an engaging way and giving them a unique opportunity to regularly support new and innovative research.View this exhibit.
THE PLAN: the launch of child sponsorship, Spain 1937
This exhibit focuses on a documentary film made by Plan International, which shows how the idea of child sponsorship emerged and grew as a response to the dangers faced by children in the Spanish civil war, more than 70 years ago.View this exhibit.
Southern Poverty Law Center: Partners for the Future legacy letter and brochure
These two items – a single page letter and 16-page booklet which together constitute a single legacy-promotion direct mail package – represent an outstanding effort in legacy marketing by one of the leading practitioners of the direct marketing art in the USA, the Southern Poverty Law Center.View this exhibit.
Sense’s magical Christmas: a special appeal from Teddy
This great exhibit from Sense proves that direct mail isn’t dying - it isn’t even ill. Instead it is thriving and if used properly will achieve great results for your charity.View this exhibit.
University College London’s ‘paper head’ Christmas appeal
It’s not really surprising that University College London’s brief to bring philosopher and jurist Jeremy Bentham back to life to raise much needed funds caused Aline Reed, in her words, ‘to frown, ask “you want me to do what” and generally feel rather puzzled for a number of days.’
But not for long, after undertaking some research she and Mark Phillips came up with the brilliant idea of a ‘ransom in reverse’. Intrigued? This wonderful exhibit will reveal the great results.View this exhibit.
Médecins sans Frontières: ‘field partners’
Without doubt all fundraisers want regular givers and lots of them. This is a great example of how to convert your existing supporters from random one-off gifts to planned regular giving, and how charities can change the giving behaviour of existing supportersView this exhibit.
David Ogilvy’s letter for the United Negro College Fund
Go back in time to meet one of the commuters who, in 1968, found this superb letter from David Ogilvy on the seat of the train taking him home to his comfortable New York suburb.View this exhibit.
Common Cause Citizen’s Committee: major donor upgrade
The letter and the rather interesting reply form get to the point, asking for money on the letter’s first page.View this exhibit.
Everything you need to know about the annual appeal letter. Made easy.
In one simple infographic Tom Ahern and Jay Love tell you everything you need to know about the annual appeal letter.View this exhibit.
Mith Samlanh Cambodia: the ‘buy a brick’ land campaign
Ah, that great fundraising stalwart, the brick! How a standard product and colourful involvement device saved a splendid children’s home from having to close its doors. This capital campaign encourages individual supporters to ‘buy a brick’ and help Friends International to buy its Mith Samlanh Centre, Phnom Penh.View this exhibit.
Steel Yard ‘fund a day’ appeal
Every now and then we see great fundraising ideas that can be easily adapted and adopted by other nonprofit organisations, particularly smaller ones. This example is particularly useful as it shows a small organisation raising money imaginatively to cover its general running costs.View this exhibit.
Nature Conservancy: launch of their Science Council
Many fundraisers shy away from asking for big gifts particularly through the mail, but experience constantly shows that if it is well done, it works.View this exhibit.
Ontario Nature’s ‘Ruby the hummingbird’ mailing.
This unusual example of direct mail tells a complex, moving story in an imaginative and very engaging way.View this exhibit.
RSPB’s letter to the future
How do you engage people in your cause, grab their attention and encourage them to stand alongside you on an issue of national importance? Not easy, we think. But here’s a brilliant example of a national conservation charity doing just that, very successfully.View this exhibit.
Jerry Falwell’s Liberty Alliance: emergency appeal for cash
Whether or not one agrees with the ‘achievements’ and ‘aspirations’ contained within the letter, it has to be said that they have been given forcefully and with emotion. This is a real battle cry.View this exhibit.
Oxfam Canada’s ‘threads of change’ campaign
The ’threads of change’ campaign from Oxfam Canada gave their donors the chance to do more than just send money to a cause they love. They were able to send messages of hope to Oxfam projects all over the world.View this exhibit.
Audubon Society of Rhode Island’s special recognition of long-time donors
The Audubon Society of Rhode Island’s superb care for their donors and courage in their approach have produced results that will be the envy of charitable organisations everywhere.View this exhibit.
Jewish Care Post-it campaign
The ideas that look most obvious and the execution that looks so easy and straightforward of course rarely are. There’s no such thing as simple creativity. But here is a great idea executed with flair so as to be instantly clear and appealing.View this exhibit.