Toybox: Not just an Easter appeal
- Exhibited by
- Rogue Creative / Toybox
- September 24, 2020
- Medium of Communication
- Letter, online
- Target Audience
- All donors
- Type of Charity
- Country of Origin
- Date of first appearance
This is a classic example of a direct mail campaign done right. Toybox are a small charity dedicated to helping children living on the streets of Guatemala, El Salvador, India, Bolivia, Nepal, Kenya and Sierra Leone. Previous appeals had been hit and miss but they struck gold with this Easter appeal.
The pack itself is beautifully-designed, the request is clear and it gives donors a better understanding of what their donations will achieve. It also proved remarkably successful as an online appeal which meant that, alongside the letter, results were phenomenal. We think Toybox showed real bravery in launching this appeal during the coronavirus pandemic.
Toybox are a small charity devoted to helping street children in Latin America and beyond. Lynne Morris, CEO, elaborated in an interview with SOFII’s Joe Burnett earlier this year: ‘We started about 25 years ago. The apocryphal tale is that a British couple were watching a BBC documentary about street children in Guatemala City and in the documentary the police were shown to have a policy that the best way to move street children off the streets was to shoot them. The couple got on a plane to Guatemala and, while they didn’t see the police brutality, they did see the terrible plight of street children. So Toybox was birthed from there.
‘The name comes from the idea that each child should have a childhood and the visual image of that is a toy box, with toys and games spilling out. The name helps us stand out from the crowd once you get to know us. We started in Guatemala City but we’ve extended our reach to El Salvador, Bolivia, Nepal, India, Kenya and Sierra Leone, and the work is with children working or living on the streets.’
Creator / originator
Toybox and Rogue Creative (Robbie Rae and Simon Lane).
Summary / objectives
Toybox approached Rogue Creative early in 2020 to create their annual Easter appeal. The charity had already enjoyed great success asking donors for birth certificates, based on a Christmas appeal we created for them five years ago (ed: which will be featured on SOFII soon), but now they were looking for a fundraising ask that could serve as an alternative to this valuable income stream.
Previous appeals had proven hit and miss, we were told, and we didn’t want to put all our eggs in one basket.
Instead, we offered donors a mini-catalogue of gifts that they could buy for street children. This approach gave the donor the choice of gifts to donate. They could choose from six items that Toybox-supported outreach workers distribute to help meet the children’s immediate needs. The plan was that donors, once engaged, would buy more than one gift (perhaps all of them) to help increase the average gift – something vital for a charity with a relatively small donor base.
However, there is little value in helping a child survive today if they are still on the streets tomorrow. We found that the true value in distributing these items is that they enable outreach workers to build trust with the children. That means that, over time, they can work with them to leave the streets for good (and this is the core of Toybox’s work).
So the idea was that this was ‘not just’ a gift catalogue. And each gift included was ‘not just’ a way to meet the children’s short-term needs. Every gift also had the power to help a child escape the streets for good.
The appeal ran across direct mail, online and social media. We hope it will be product that will continue, with catalogues available to distribute at events and suchlike.
CEO Lynne Morris said: ‘We had a few conversations about whether we should send out the mailing during a pandemic. Was it the right time? I knew other organisations didn’t and as there were fewer envelopes falling through people’s doors, we decided to go for it.’
The initial target was to raise £50,000 but this was subsequently lowered to £25,000 once the coronavirus lockdown kicked in. The pack beat this target by more than 300 per cent – raising £110,000 in total with a much higher average gift than projected, because many donors elected to buy all the itemised gifts for children.