CHATS: the Norooz letter, in Farsi

Exhibited by
SOFII
Added
May 12, 2012
Medium of Communication
Direct mail
Target Audience
Individuals, single gift
Type of Charity
Seniors
Country of Origin
Canada
Date of first appearance
February, 2010

SOFII’s view

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. As CHATS say themselves, the ultimate objective is ‘to appeal to culture-specific groups at their most relevant time, in their most relevant manner.’

Colin Jenkins (director of development), with support from Sarah Hooshiyarfard (outreach coordinator, Iranian programmes).

To appeal directly to our Farsi-speaking clients/donors with a theme that is specific to their culture and language.

Background

We have approximately 100 Farsi-speaking clients who, research confirmed, were not responding to our ‘traditional direct mail’. Historically they were included in our holiday mailing (generally timed around Christmas), which resulted in packages being mailed and discarded, either because they didn’t understand English or the timing was irrelevant. As one of our largest client segments, it was decided to pilot a mailing specific to this group at a time important to them – in this case Norooz.

Norooz, or Nowruz (‘New Day’, originally ‘New Light’) is a traditional ancient Iranian festival that celebrates the start of the Iranian New Year. Norooz is also widely referred to as the Persian New Year. It is celebrated and observed by Iranian peoples and has spread to many other parts of the world, including parts of Central Asia, South Asia, Northwestern China, the Crimea and some ethnic groups in Albania, Bosnia, Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia. And now, Canada!

Special characteristics

The appeal was written in Farsi, themed around Norooz, and asked people to support CHATS through donations.

Details

Sent to 100 clients (all non-donors).

Costs

Postage - $57, plus time of translation (in-house).

Results

$730 (from 100 pieces mailed), 33 new donors.

Merits

Not only was this an innovative approach to target our Farsi-speaking population, it helped marginally to reduce the costs of our traditional direct mail campaigns. This approach can be translated to many different cultures, with the ultimate theme of appealing to culture-specific groups at a time most relevant to them and in a manner most to relevant them.

View original image
On the face of it a simple gesture, to address one segment of donors in a way that’s most comfortable, for them. But what a difference it makes, not just to appearances but to results. The Farsi version.
View original image
On the face of it a simple gesture, to address one segment of donors in a way that’s most comfortable, for them. But what a difference it makes, not just to appearances but to results. The English translation.