ORBIS: gift aid campaign

Exhibited by
Laura Parrotta, individual giving officer, ORBIS UK.
August 25, 2013
Medium of Communication
Target Audience
Type of Charity
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
August, 2011

SOFII’s view

What a clever campaign. When ORBIS UK realised that, for a number of reasons, they had a large sum of money just outside their grasp through unclaimed Gift Aid they wrote to their donors to explain exactly what Gift Aid is. A wise thing to do because many people just don’t quite get it. Of course, these clever people at ORBIS also managed to raise a lot of extra money with their simple letter that had all the right information and a great proposition: you don't have to send more money to save someone’s sight, just tick a box.

Creator / originator

Laura Parrotta.

Summary / objectives

To produce a quick and cheap campaign that would explain Gift Aid to supporters and, at the same time, get written proof that they wished to give a little extra through this method. The concept was simply to ask people to tick a box to save sight.


ORBIS International is a nonprofit global development organisation dedicated to saving sight worldwide. Our mission is to preserve and restore sight by strengthening the capacity of local institutions in their efforts to prevent and treat blindness. Our goal is a world in which no one is needlessly blind, where quality eye care is available to everyone. Since 1982, ORBIS volunteers and staff have restored the vision and transformed the lives of more than 12.5 million people in 88 countries.

In 2011, we realised we had a lot of people on our database who had agreed to give through Gift Aid but we didn’t have the necessary documents to validate our claims. We felt we had a lot of money sitting there that we should be claiming but couldn’t.

We didn’t want to make it a big campaign, just a very simple letter with a form stating that the donor wished to make an additional donation through Gift Aid. Quite a few supporters find Gift Aid confusing, so we thought it was also important to explain who qualified.

We were expecting a response rate of around seven per cent so we worked out that it was worth asking supporters with claimable Gift Aid of £8 or more in order to make the campaign profitable. We also added supporters who had never made a declaration, we had no idea whether they were taxpayers or not.

The idea was to tell supporters that, out of all the money they had given us in the past, we could claim X amount of money. We had to make the concept really simple and that’s how we came up with ‘tick a box to save sight’. We had to personalise the letter with the relevant claimable amount for each donor.

At the time, we had booked a telemarketing agency to carry out the Gift Aid campaign after the mailing had gone out, as we felt the letter would not be enough. We were happily surprised when the forms started coming in – we didn’t expect so many responses. The telemarketing campaign had been booked for 3,000 prospects. We hardly had 500 to give the agency.

This year, we decided to do it again but only the mailing. We haven’t booked a follow-up telemarketing campaign.

The 2012 gift aid campaign went out on 8 August. The concept remains the same but the copy has changed slightly with the addition of a case study.

Special characteristics

A clear proposition that made it easy for the donor to make a further donation through Gift Aid.

Influence / impact

Some people replied with a donation. Some even replied to apologise for not being UK taxpayers! This allowed us to update our database and have more targeted Gift Aid asks when sending appeals. For instance people who have said ‘no’ now get something like: ‘We’re aware that you are not a UK tax payer but if your situation changes, please inform us, etc…’


# of Response525697
Response rate7%14.63%
# of Gift15064
Average gift£20£27.82
Total gift£3,000£1,780.50
Potential GA income£19,425£28,129.17
Claimable GA income£19,425£23,832.88
Total income£22,425£25,613.38
Cost (Prod + Post)£2,843£3,175


A simple well-written letter explained Gift Aid and raised an additional amount of money that would otherwise have been left unclaimed.

Other relevant information