Oxfam Cana­da: the threads of change’ campaign

Exhibited by
December 09, 2013
Medium of Communication
Direct mail
Target Audience
Type of Charity
International relief/development
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance

SOFII’s view

A charming idea that not only raised much-needed funds for Oxfam, but also gave donors the chance to do more than just send money. By sending in hundreds of squares they were declaring that they wanted to become even more involved with the charity they love.

Harvey McKinnon Associates.

Name of exhibitor

Lynne Boardman, managing director, Harvey McKinnon Associates.

To test a new creative to lift results to Oxfam’s traditional end-of-the year – holiday – campaign, which had been slowly declining.


It’s hard for individuals to feel they can have an impact on a huge global problem like poverty. Harvey McKinnon Associates developed a mail pack for Oxfam that included an ethically sourced piece of quilt. They asked donors to write a message of hope to the people around the world that Oxfam works with and to send it back with their donations.

The message was that – like small pieces of cloth sewn together to make a warm, protective blanket – their donations, along with those of many others, could help Oxfam create great change.

The mailing was followed up with an email reminder. The quilt campaign and a report on how well it went were featured in two donor newsletters. 

Special characteristics

The quilt.

Influence / impact

A member of staff at Harvey McKinnon Associates (HMA) in Vancouver volunteered to sew the quilt together. The original quilt is held at Oxfam’s office in Ottawa. In November, HMA borrowed it to display at the Association of Fundraising Congress in Toronto where they also distributed squares to delegates and asked them to write a message of hope for the people of the Philippines after the typhoon. There are now enough squares to make at least two new quilts.

The quilt was also displayed at a major donor event during Oxfam’s gender justice summit in Ottawa.

Oxfam will be sending the existing quilt to a project in Ethiopia and then it will travel around the world to various other projects. The intention is that it will give hope to Oxfam’s partners and clients, to know that people in Canada are supporting and thinking of them. It is hoped that Oxfam staff will be able to take photos and videos that can be shared with Oxfam donors online and in follow-up newsletters.


The mailing beat its target gross income by 50 per cent and last year’s gross income by 40 per cent.

Oxfam Canada’s ‘Threads of Change’ Quilt Story

Presented at IWITOT 2014 by by Colin Kemp

Presented at IWITOT 2014 by by Colin Kemp

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Oxfam’s donors messages of hope.
Direct mail pack. Click here to view in PDF.
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Threads of change letter - page 1
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Threads of change letter - page 2
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Donors were asked to use this square to send their message of hope.