If you want their money, best not to insult them

There were red faces all round when the UK Conservative Party found an unusually insulting way of asking for donations to the Party’s cause.

Written by
Joe Burnett
Added
April 26, 2018

Note: this article features language that some may find offensive. You may also find this side-achingly hilarious, so watch out!

Regardless of your political stance, I'm sure we can all agree that it's quite a mistake to open a direct mail letter asking for money with the words ‘Dear Mr Fuckingjoking’.

Yet this is what happened to 67-year-old Raja Habib of South London, when he received a letter requesting a donation from the Conservative Party addressed to a ‘Mr Youmustbe Fuckingjoking’. Apparently their contribution would help the Tories ‘build a Britain for the future’ and ‘help defeat socialism in our country’ but Mr Habib was singularly unimpressed.

This farcical situation may tickle you, but this shows that, no matter how difficult, maintaining your database is essential. As the Habibs' neighbour said on Twitter, 

‘[They're] trying to argue they can run the country when they can’t even work mail-merge. My elderly neighbours were more than a little upset to be addressed in this manner by the PM. To add insult to injury the Conservatives then had the cheek to ask for money.’ 

The Conservative Party is investigating and this could be an unfortunate technical glitch or a cheeky prank by a disgruntled staffer.

It's an absurd example, perhaps, but it does highlight the pitfalls of direct marketing and using masses of data in one go. If even the current party of government in the UK can fall foul of poor data management, then maybe all our organisations can too. So before you send out that next DM pack asking for money, do make sure you haven't addressed one letter to someone called ‘Youmustbe Fuckingjoking’ or anything along those lines.

About the author: Joe Burnett

Joe Burnett

Joe Burnett (he/him) is contributing editor for SOFII. Having cut his teeth as an intern at the Association of French Fundraisers, he then embarked on a career in advertising before returning to where his heart lay: in the charities sector. Joe is passionate about fundraising and how it can be a force for positive change in the world. He also believes sparkly jackets make him look cool. They don’t.

If you would like to add a new article or interesting case-study to SOFII, email him on joe@sofii.org.

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