Toron­to Humane Soci­ety’s Ben­jamin’ year end mailing

Exhibited by
Rosie Blanning - Integrated Direct Marketing Manager - Toronto Humane Society
September 13, 2016
Medium of Communication
Direct mail
Target Audience
Type of Charity
Animal Welfare
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
October 2014

SOFII’s view

Tell a simple story, tell it well, thank your donors sincerely and show them how much difference their donations have made and you too will exceed your targets. Like Toronto Humane Society you might also increase your knowledge and understanding of your donors.

Summary / objectives

The Toronto Humane Society had one last opportunity to encourage their supporters to make a tax-eligible donation before the end of the year. Following shortly after a successful Christmas appeal, THS wanted to treat this mailing as an opportunity to say thank you and to give their donors tangible examples of how their donations made a difference.


The Society used an eye-catching outer envelope with positive images of happy animals with the tag line ‘a picture is worth a thousand thank yous!’ This also indicated that the supporter’s copy of the autumn/winter edition of Animal Talk was inside. The letter featured the story of Benjamin Buddy, a very special dog who had lost his guardian in a car crash; Benjamin had survived the crash unscathed. As Benjamin was losing his sight and had other health issues, his care costs exceeded $2,000, which THS highlighted to the reader with an intake form giving a full breakdown of Benjamin's medical expenses signed by their chief veterinarian. The reverse of the letter also featured other special animals that had been at the shelter for more than a year.

Creator / originator

Toronto Humane Society

Special characteristics

Stories, they are everywhere in the Society’s communications: Benjamin’s plight, the other animals featured in the letter and Animal Talk. Happy Tails on their website is where people are invited to tell their own, personal tales of their pets and the happiness they give them.

Influence / impact

Toronto Humane Society say that the impact was on the Society. From this mailing they learned the importance of saying thank you and varying their messaging throughout the year so their donors feel appreciated and are given real examples of how they keep the doors of the shelter open.


The campaign target was $27,757 net and we raised $57,436. Lots of people have called to ask about Benjamin and the animals featured on the back of the letter.

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The front cover of the edition of Animal Talk, which was included in the supporter’s mail pack.
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Benjamin Buddy was brought to the shelter because there was nowhere else for him to go. Benjamin and his owner were in a nasty car accident. Benjamin suffered from some minor scratches and bruises and was in shock, but his owner, tragically, lost their life.
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Benjamin Buddy a special little Pekingese-mix almost 8 years old.
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I will forever be thankful to the Toronto Humane Society for introducing us to our little chocolate chunk, Rollo. At first, you could tell she was a little unsure about us - not too cuddly, got into things – but just in a year’s time she has become the most loyal dog. She never leaves our sides and depends on us to keep her safe.
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I’ve included pictures of Luna in her room. You’ll see that her new favourite spot is on top of my dresser. The dresser is right next to my desk and Luna seems to prefer to be within arms reach of me at all times.
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Thank you for facilitating Zoya’s adoption. She really completes our family and it would be hard imagining life without her. Have a lovely day. Thank you again for helping me meet my best buddy.