Send a Cow: thank-you drive

Exhibited by
Lorraine Finnigan, Communications Manager, Send a Cow.
January 19, 2012
Medium of Communication
Target Audience
Type of Charity
International relief / development.
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
November, 2011

SOFII’s view

Send a Cow obviously take saying thank you to their supporters very seriously, seriously enough to send them humorous, warm and delightful videos, cards and notes. And we love the way that the whole organisation were so enthusiastic about telling their supporters how much they mean to them.

Creator / originator

Lorraine Finnigan, Send a Cow.

Summary / objectives

Saying thank you is close to our hearts at Send a Cow and we wanted to show supporters how much we appreciate everything they do for us.


The concept for the thank-you drive came out of a communications brief to a digital agency (Positive). We wanted to develop a campaign to connect with our supporters on social media over the 2011 Christmas period. Several ideas were presented to us, many focusing on specific virtual gifts (Send a Cow introduced virtual giving to the UK).

The thank-you idea stood out as something that could be built into a truly integrated campaign across our communications and fundraising teams, enabling us to engage with our donors who don’t use social networks as well as those who do. We particularly liked the sense of turning the commercialism of Christmas on its head by giving something back to our supporters rather than simply adding to the ‘buy, buy, buy’ message from the high street.

With an eye on value for money, the potential for the campaign to extend beyond Christmas – both to next Christmas and also to other points throughout the year – made total sense. We also welcomed the opportunity to do something that would fully involve the whole organisation.

Special characteristics

We took the time to pass on the thanks we received from the farmers we support in Africa.

Five ‘super’ supporters were profiled for a week and a half each. We dedicated our Facebook and Twitter profiles to saying thank you and, in some instances, the home page of our website. We made personalised, handwritten cards and notes for supporters and some of our staff even dressed up to visit a school whose staff and pupils have been supporting us. We sent personal video messages and our ‘day of thanks from Africa’ involved all members of staff, who either gave up their lunch hours, came in early, or stayed late to call supporters and pass on messages from farmers in Africa. Everything was streamed on Facebook and Twitter throughout the day and supported by a thank-you push on a local radio station using Send a Cow volunteers as spokespeople.

Influence / impact

We are reviewing the campaign at the moment. We knew it would always be hard to evaluate, even so we viewed it as the ‘right thing to do’. We do know that we had an extremely positive response from supporters and the staff benefited too by having the opportunity to make a personal call to someone who had made a donation. We anticipate we will now make this a more regular thing. Howard Lake, Head of UK Fundraising blogged about us, giving us high praise, along with other fundraisers.


Most activities were done in house. We purposefully wanted to keep costs down to keep a home-grown feel and, importantly, not to give the impression to supporters that we were spending too much. All videos were made in house, all PR done in house, etc. Costs for the digital agency’s time and building of initial assets for super supporters were around £11,000.


This was always going to be more than just a one-off campaign. It has been a truly collaborative effort between communications and fundraising and, indeed, the whole organisation. We have all been enthused by it.

At a time when supporter retention is so important, what could be a better way than saying thank you?

SOFII's I Wish I'd Thought Of That 2012 - No. 6 Lucy Gower presents Send A Cow