Hannah’s innovative direct mail appeal

Exhibited by
SOFII
Added
May 12, 2010
Medium of Communication
Direct mail.
Target Audience
Individuals, single gift
Type of Charity
Education, sports and recreation
Country of Origin
UK
Date of first appearance
2006

SOFII’s view

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. So it would be wrong to dismiss this initiative in casual haste because of its simplicity and directness. Hannah's letter is actually overflowing with talent. It is also a direct mail appeal that is not confined by convention or hamstrung by formulae. Instead it is one person writing individually and imaginatively to another to ask for help on behalf of something they both care deeply about.

Hannah, then just seven.

To raise money for Hannah's school. At that time the school needed funds for playground equipment – hence the idea for the stall.

Background

Hannah's class of seven year-olds decided to hold a sports sale and to set up a stall for this at the school fete. But, they needed sports stuff to sell. So they all set about writing to family and friends, to raise the necessary. Hannah decided to illustrate her letter with drawings of the kind of things she hoped people would donate. As she didn't know about messages on outer envelopes, postscripts, underlining for emphasis, use of headlines and so on, so she left out all those evidences of the artifice of direct mail fundraising best practice. Her appeal is very much stronger because of it.

Special characteristics

Very reassuring indication that the talent to innovate is out there and the next generation of fundraisers will most likely be even more talented and creative than today's.

Influence / impact

Hannah's example of direct mail has been showcased at the UK's National Fundraiser's Convention.

Costs

None.

Results

Lost, unfortunately. But anything less than 100 per cent positive response would be unacceptable.

Merits

Professional fundraisers should not be above pausing in their endeavours from time to time to consider such amateur efforts, then pondering whether perhaps in their rush to professionalise they have not lost something really rather important.