Rain­for­est Res­cue: You can help build the Daintree’s largest nursery’

Exhibited by
Nicole Lovelock
February 17, 2022
Medium of Communication
Direct mail
Target Audience
Major and mid-value donors
Type of Charity
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance

SOFII’s view

This is an example of brilliant direct mail fundraising. Rainforest Rescue in Queensland, Australia, may not be the biggest charity but they know their stuff. A smart, tailored direct mail campaign combined with a personal touch to successfully raise more money than ever before. Sometimes good fundraising is about doing the simple things perfectly.

Summary / objectives

This campaign was a real leap forward for Rainforest Rescue, a small but visionary charity based in far north Queensland. Their mission is not only to protect and restore the rainforests, but also the wildlife that call those forests home. 

In mid-2020, Rainforest Rescue had access to two tree-nurseries with an annual capacity of 12,000 trees. For many years, they struggled to increase their capacity beyond this. 

After considering a range of expansion options with their main nursery, they decided to build a new nursery close to the Daintree Rainforest which would significantly increase tree production to 150,000 trees per year. 

Rainforest Rescue was trying to raise far more than it had ever done before – just over AU$400,000. This was more than double the amount sought by any previous property buy-back appeal the charity had ever held.

Creator / originator

Rainforest Rescue and Marlin Communications


 Key considerations:

  • a simple and compelling ask was a prime opportunity
  • limits on internal capacity (i.e. Chief Executive Officer is also main fundraiser) 
  • time pressure to raise significant funding

The timing of this was right and many supporters shared a belief that the best way to act on climate change and restore the precious Daintree Rainforest that so many love, was by planting more trees… many, many more trees. 

The simplicity of this was compelling.

Special characteristics

The solution: 

Rainforest Rescue knew they had to make it personal. By focussing on stewarding Rainforest Rescue’s top 100 donors with a highly personalised pack, Marlin Communications was able to maximise the impact of the appeal. 

The high level of personalisation included:

  • Hand stamped C4 outer kraft (eco-friendly) envelopes.
  • Digitally printed messaging on a main ‘carrier’ folder which included the recipient’s name.
  • Internally addressed message from the Rainforest Rescue chair.  
  • A three-page personal letter from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
  • Personalisation throughout the accompanying five-page proposal, and
  • Personally addressed donation form paper-clipped to DL reply envelope (RPE)

The highly tailored approach gave it a compelling and warm personal touch, which was exactly as Branden Barber, Rainforest Rescue’s CEO had intended. Simple cues such as using a blue-stamped signature from Branden and the intricate nature of the pack collation made this a very one-to-one proposal. It was persuasive and difficult to ignore.

The first 98 packs for major and high value donors were followed by an ask to 82 mid-value donors – those who had demonstrated the capacity to donate, although not at the same levels as major and high value donors. The asks included in the letter and response mechanisms were reduced to reflect their previous giving history. Once the main major and high value donor materials were created, this proved to be a very efficient and cost-effective adjustment to another donor segment.


This campaign was incredibly successful. It raised AU$567,871.58 from 104 donors – far more than ever expected. 

The case for support was also used for trust and foundation funding requests, and in the time since, has proved to be very effective. 

As the reality of this project’s significance to build the Daintree’s largest nursery emerges, the longer-term role of this becomes increasingly apparent. There is so much demand for trees to be met from – existing and new partners, projects and new tree-planting carbon credits using Rainforest Rescue’s tree planting methodology –that the commercial side to tree sales could become a successful social enterprise in itself within two to three years. 


Client Testimonial - Branden Barber, Rainforest Rescue CEO

‘Rainforest Rescue lacked the capacity to create and develop a high-quality proposal Major Donor campaign. Working with Karl from Marlin was great – his enthusiasm and assistance throughout the development and implementation of this helped us to see that with the right approach, the right messaging in the right format, we would be able to get our case for support into our donor’s hands… and get them to act accordingly. It has been a terrific success… I can’t thank Marlin enough for the support they’ve given and their belief in this project, and its importance.’

This campaign delivered highly personalised hand stamped letters to over one hundred donors.)
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The aim was to build a tree nursery capable of producing 150,000 trees next to the much-loved Daintree Rainforest.
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The campaign raised well over AU$500,000, an incredible amount for a small charity.