Hel­ve­tas: inte­grat­ing aware­ness and fundraising

Exhibited by
Helvetas, Swiss Association for International Cooperation and Stefan Stolle, Head of Fundraising and Communication.
July 24, 2009
Medium of Communication
Direct mail, event, posters, press advertising
Target Audience
Type of Charity
Healthcare, human rights & civil liberties
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
September, 2008

SOFII’s view

In the sanitised world in which so many of us live, it’s good to see an organisation that is prepared to shock us into seeing that many people just don’t have the basic amenities we take for granted. We loved the ‘occupied’ bushes in the park, whilst being happy that we didn’t have to use them. This campaign highlights the plight of so many in poorer countries and, consequently, raised more money as people became enthused.

Creator / originator

Spinas|Gemperle, Zürich, www.spinas-gemperle.ch.

Summary / objectives

To raise awareness during the International Year of Sanitation of the lack of access to basic sanitation and clean water in developing countries. To generate funds from private donors to deliver sanitation and clean water to developing countries.


Helvetas is a private organisation for development co-operation based in Switzerland. It is a denominationally and politically independent association, supported by approximately 43,000 members, 40,000 donors and 15 regional groups.

Our vision: a world in which everyone can live a self-determined life in dignity and safety whilst caring for the environment.

Our mission: we are partners with disadvantaged people and communities in developing countries who act responsibly to improve their lives.

Our Credo: together for a better world.

Special characteristics

Controversial guerrilla actions included putting‘occupied’ signs on park bushes, and (reproduction)‘doo-dos’ on pavements, plus stickers in public toilets.

Influence / impact

The campaign gained repeated major media coverage off- and online throughout Switzerland.


Addressed cold mailings generated response rates of up to 3 per cent and 10,000 new addresses were added to the database. Unpersonalised mail packs generated a response of 0.21 per cent, which is considered an average result in Switzerland.


An important topic put to public discussion through controversial but effective means, which also effectively serve to address a younger target group.

The results of the campaign prove that difficult issues can be successfully addressed.