Nature Con­ser­van­cy of Cana­da: Lega­cy mailing

Exhibited by
David Love
April 09, 2009
Medium of Communication
Direct mail
Target Audience
Legacy, major gift
Type of Charity
Environmental / animals
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance

SOFII’s view

This is a straightforward but very good example of a charity attempting to access what’s been referred to as ‘the pot of gold at the end of the fundraiser’s rainbow’ – the potential, over years, for developing substantial legacy income from a well maintained warm donor file. Without doubt, this carefully and sensitively crafted pack will raise funds very effectively for the cause and the organisation that created it.

Creator / originator

David Love and Steve Thomas Associates (ST)

Summary / objectives

This mailing attempts to find donors who would consider leaving a legacy – particularly, a gift in their will – to Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC).


Encouraging direct mail donors to leave a legacy presents those organisations that have invested in building a direct mail donor file with the opportunity to raise billions of dollars for their cause.

Special characteristics

This is a simple direct mail appeal with an unusual call to action.

Influence / impact

This piece has been mailed many times by NCC. As a result, they now have hundreds of donors who intend to leave a gift in their will. At an average of CA$25,000, this translates into serious money invested in protecting Canada’s most precious places.


About two Canadian dollars per person contacted.


Initial results were stunning, with about 13 per cent of recipients responding to the initial mailing of 5,000 pieces. And four per cent (180 people) indicated they were interested in leaving a legacy to NCC. Every time this piece is mailed, more people commit to leaving a legacy.


There is immense potential in writing to loyal direct mail donors, asking them to leave a legacy to a cause they care deeply about. The potential revenue for causes such as the environment, human rights, the women’s movement and other ‘social justice’ causes is astronomical. As British author George Smith so eloquently put it, in the title of his book on fundraising creativity, we simply have to ‘ask properly’.

A warm, attractive package with the maple key emblem, symbol of Canada’s national tree, acting as an intriguing involvement device.
View original image
The NCC legacy pack letter, four pages.
View original image
NCC legacy pack reply form, two pages.