Save the Chil­dren: Buy a brick cap­i­tal appeal

Exhibited by
Reuben Turner
March 02, 2015
Medium of Communication
Direct mail
Target Audience
Type of Charity
Children, youth and family
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
July 2011

SOFII’s view

Although there were three propositions for the different audiences Save the Children were talking to, they all explained clearly what was needed, why it was needed and how individuals could help build clinics  urgently needed in South Sudan. As with all good direct mail, there were lots of stories that captured the attention of potential donors.

Creator / originator

A team comprised of people from Save the Children and The Good Agency.

Summary / objectives

This was a campaign to build three new health clinics in a remote region of South Sudan, saving children’s lives for years to come. Direct mail was used to tell the story of why the clinics were so desperately needed and to target different audiences with different offers and mechanics. From this central story, three propositions were developed.


The three propositions developed were:

£5 ‘buy a brick’

Focusing purely on the tangible impact of the brick, this aimed to drive response, rather than value, from individual prospects and cold audiences. The pack contained a brick sticker to send back with donations, engaging people to respond.

No place for a sick child

Clearly demonstrating the need for new health clinics, this standard value pack showed the dirty, unstable huts where children in South Sudan have to be treated for life-threatening illnesses. It then showed how the supporter’s gift will help build a sturdy, safe clinic giving children the very best chance of survival. This pack included all the components of a successful capital appeal: a target, a deadline for response and a plan of the new building.

High value

Sharing information on the overall strategy for South Sudan and the reasons why Save the Children are working there, this pack focused on a very rational argument for building the clinics. The format for this pack was very different and although it still included all the vital ingredients (a target, a deadline and the hospital plan) it included extras, like a shopping list too.

Special characteristics

Segmentation was at the heart of this campaign.

Five key segments were identified, each with their own objectives: high value, regular cash givers, single givers, lapsed givers and cold.

This allowed one story to be told in a number of ways. It also made the story relevant to an incredibly loyal, committed donor with the propensity to give £1,000 or more as well as a completely cold prospect who had barely heard of the organisation.

This segmentation wasn’t based on hypotheses but clear testing. A matrix was created that allowed the different creative routes to be tested, measuring the uplift of each approach and maximising learnings for future appeals.

Influence / impact

Two new health clinics were built in South Sudan and a third is under construction. Together they’ll help save the lives of thousands of newborns, for generations to come.


The results for this campaign demonstrate how effectively it worked by meeting and surpassing its targets.

In terms of new donor acquisition, the results for this campaign were:

  • 2,267 supporters recruited – 762 more than forecast.
  • A response of 3.2 per cent (with some lists achieving as high as 4.5 per cent).
  • 0.82 ROI – an improvement on 0.2 forecast.

In terms of retention of existing donors, the results for this campaign were:

  • £387,745 net income – £157,543 more than forecast.
  • 5.66 per cent response rate – an improvement on 5 per cent forecast.

In terms of high value results, the campaign raised £66,625 from 34 supporters.

In addition, despite mailing 30 per cent more contacts than forecast, the cost of the appeal was 17 per cent under budget.

This all helped generate a large volume of email addresses from supporters who wanted to keep in touch with the building of the clinics.


Save the Children’s 2011 capital appeal was bigger and better, with a more ambitious target than ever before. As well as raising money from existing supporters, the ask was extended to lapsed givers and new donors. So as well as building clinics, Save the Children have built their supporter base too.

The warm appeal beat its target by over £150,000 and acquisition approached break-even. Clinics built. Children saved.

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Front of the letter.
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Back of the letter.
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Front and back of the outer envelope. Click to enlarge.
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The front and back of the building plans. Click to enlarge.
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Page one (above) and page two (below) of the project overview. Click to enlarge.
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Page three of the project overview.
First page of the letter.
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Page two of letter.
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Page three of letter.
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The outer envelope.
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Front of the freepost envelope.
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Front and back of the freepost envelope
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Proposition: no place for a sick child. The clinic now and in the future.
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Front of the letter.
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Back of the letter.
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Front of the outer envelope.
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Back of the outer envelope.
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Front of the postcard.
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Back of the postcard.