Men­cap: Christ­mas appeal

Exhibited by
Michael Naidu, Mencap
August 24, 2009
Medium of Communication
Direct mail.
Target Audience
Individuals, single gift.
Type of Charity
Disabilities, education.
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance

SOFII’s view

This is a colourful, well-designed appeal that makes very good use of an attractive and appropriate involvement device to raise more money – and make donors feel good. As such it’s not unique, but it’s certainly instructive with at least one or more ideas worth copying.

Creator / originator

Penny Bowring, Mark Neathway and Marie Joubert, all of Mencap

Summary / objectives

Mencap is the UK’s leading learning disability charity. The aim was to raise £59,555 with a 9.9 per cent response rate through a Christmas appeal to 31,404 existing Mencap supporters. This Christmas pack had a personalised non-window red outer envelope that looked as if it came from a friend. It included a letter, a leaflet and a cardboard Christmas decoration onto which supporters could write a message of support then return it with their gift. The result was an income of £72,165 and a response rate of 14 per cent – way above target.


Past appeals had indicated that a personal Christmassy pack with an involvement device such as a calendar would reap the highest response.

Special characteristics

A cardboard decoration onto which supporters could write a message of support to any of the individuals in the case studies in the leaflet and send it back with their gift to be hung up on the trees of people who have a learning disability.

Influence / impact

This pack reactivated lapsed donors and generated a much higher response rate than anticipated. Income was £12,610 over target.


As part of the personalisation for this pack Mencap tested a new gift prompt method, where every gift prompt was at the same level or higher than the supporter's last gift. This generated a higher average gift than when supporters had been given the choice of giving at a lower, at the same or at a higher level than their last gift.




Income £72,165, response 13.92, average gift £18.81, ROI 4.45.


The interactive nature of this pack inspired a high response rate amongst Mencap supporters. And the Christmas decoration/reply card is an innovative involvement device.