The Nation­al Cam­paign for Tol­er­ance: The Wall of Tol­er­ance appeal 

Exhibited by
Mal Warwick
August 19, 2009
Medium of Communication
Direct mail.
Target Audience
Individuals, social change campaign.
Type of Charity
Human rights & civil liberties, poverty/social justice, public/society benefit.
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance

SOFII’s view

The Southern Poverty Law Center, who launched this campaign, is a hugely impressive organisation with a long and well-deserved reputation for effective donor development. It’s also an organisation that many donors feel most passionately about. During the past four decades it has played a pivotal role in America’s long struggle for civil rights, spreading its message of tolerance, understanding and harmony through the heart of the racially divided southern states and beyond. The scale of their success will be seen next January, 2009, in the USA’s capital, when the country’s first ever black president takes the oath of office.

Though we don’t have the results, we think we can presume that this direct mail capital appeal must have worked really very well.

Creator / originator

Morris Dees and staff at the Southern Poverty Law Center

Summary / objectives

To raise money to build a special commemorative wall in Montgomery, Alabama, USA to create a lasting symbol of the unity and strength of America’s tolerance movement. To publicly recognise the men and women of America who stand for justice and practice tolerance.


The Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Montgomery, Alabama, was established by celebrated civil rights lawyer Morris Dees and collaborators some three decades ago to combat the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups. Under Dees’ inspired direction, the Center has flourished through the years because of his extraordinary talent in direct marketing, the source of his fortune at an early age. Among many other activities, the Center has initiated a flurry of legal actions over the years that have, in many cases, been featured on network television evening news and eventually forced hate groups into bankruptcy. The National Campaign for Tolerance is the Center’s brilliant capital campaign, focused on a creative involvement device, the Wall of Tolerance.


The Center does not share information about the results of its direct mail fundraising programme.

‘I just love the way the Southern Poverty Law Center treats me, as a donor. It seems really interested in its donors and has some great schemes for donor involvement.’

Jennie T, Washington, USA,
a long-term SPLC donor


This is one of the most moving and long-lasting donor involvement campaigns in the USA and represents some of the best that the direct marketer’s art can produce.