Botton Village ‘Frances’ pack

Exhibited by
Burnett Works Limited
Added
December 07, 2007
Medium of Communication
Direct mail
Target Audience
Individuals
Type of Charity
Disabilities
Country of Origin
UK
Date of first appearance
1989

SOFII’s view

Botton Village was a pioneer of relationship fundraising. Its whole philosophy has always been, and continues to be, based on the idea of respected friends who have choice and control about the relationship they have with the charity and the communications they receive. The 'Frances' pack is an excellent and highly successful example of this approach, a sustained, cost-effective recruiter of new donors to a very popular cause. This is fundraising direct mail as it should be – sincere, engaging, heart-warming and very compelling.

Creator / originator

Burnett Associates with Botton Village.

Name of exhibitor

Burnett Works Limited

Summary / objectives

To develop a pack to recruit new supporters for Botton Village as cost-effectively as possible; to beat the banker pack to date.

Background

Botton Village (a member of the Camphill Village Trust) is a community where adults with special needs live and work alongside 'co-workers' in a group of extended families. The community is based in the North York Moors National Park, around a series of farms and workshops. No one receives a wage. All members of the community are able to contribute to the community fully, through work, family and social life. Adults with special needs are able to feel valued, to develop their talents, to thrive and to fulfil their potential, often for the first time in their lives.

During the early 1980s, changes in legislation coinciding with reduced government spending meant that Botton Village was unable to meet its running costs. To overcome this, the Village began a programme of direct mail fundraising in 1983 that would build a base of supporters and raise money for the community.

A programme of cold testing began that gradually introduced new concepts including the 'Frances' pack, which was developed in 1989. Botton Village became a great fundraising success story. It achieved incredible results that enabled it to build a large base of loyal and long-term supporters. In 2002, Botton Village no longer needed the level of income it was able to achieve and chose to become just one part of a new fundraising initiative on behalf of the whole Camphill Village Trust of 11 communities, called The Camphill Family. In its last Christmas mailing to supporters Botton Village achieved over £1 million net income from 73,000 supporters.

The Camphill Family continues to achieve amazing levels of donor loyalty and overall results.

Special characteristics

Botton Village has no paid professional fundraisers. The fundraising group is made up of members of the community, all of whom have other jobs within the community as well as being houseparents, together with members (now from Burnett Works) of Burnett Associates.

Botton Village's cold packs were always unusual, especially at that time, for being positive stories about people achieving success in their lives. They didn't show stories and images of need, which people give to through guilt and sympathy, but rather gave people the opportunity to help others continue to thrive.

Influence / Impact

The 'Frances' pack beat the banker pack at the time and replaced it for many years. Eventually it was succeeded by a new case history presented in the same way. It took a long time to better the basic concept and format of the original 'Frances' pack.

The roll-fold format was trying something quite new for the organisation, which proved incredibly successful and hard to beat.

The positive depiction of life at Botton Village and the underlying philosophy, which speak loud and clear throughout the pack, have continued to be benchmarks of Botton Village and the Camphill Family's cold direct mail packs ever since.

Details

Two versions of the 'Frances' pack were tested against three other packs. The winning 'Frances' pack version achieved 1.01 per cent, with an average donation of £29.33. Its nearest rival achieved 0.83 per cent and average gift £27.02. Through subsequent tests of creative, revisions, lists and timings, response levels were driven even higher than this.

Results

See above.

Merits

This pack pioneered a number of things, from its approach (success story), to its use of format to help Frances' story unfold, as well as using strong, positive images. Unbeaten for a number of years, it allowed Botton Village to recruit donors cost-effectively and to develop them into a strong group of loyal friends through its belief in relationship fundraising. 

Other relevant information

The Camphill Family continues to recruit new supporters through direct marketing and to uphold the same values in its fundraising and communications as Botton pioneered through the 'Frances' pack nearly 20 years ago. See also Botton Village: giving donors choices.

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Frances (right) and a friend at Botton Village, mid 1980s.
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This news item from their donor newsletter Botton Village Life caused much merriment in the village.
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The roll-fold leaflet from Botton’s ‘Frances’ pack: A captivating story unfolds.
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The main letter. People really took to Frances. Many were amazed to read that Frances was 48 years old, as she looks so young.