Wom­ankind World­wide: donor recruit­ment mailing

Exhibited by
August 20, 2009
Medium of Communication
Direct mail
Target Audience
Awareness, individuals
Type of Charity
Social change, women
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
June, 2005

SOFII’s view

This is a very high quality direct mail package that cleverly involves donors at a very personal level in delivering support and practical encouragement to a real individual in Ethiopia whose problems they can identify with, understand and do something about.

Burnett Works Limited.

Name of exhibitor

Burnett Works Limited.

WOMANKIND Worldwide determined to prepare the ground thoroughly before investing its hard-won budget in recruiting supporters. It knew it needed to overhaul its fundraising messages to broaden its appeal and ensure its communications would work hard to make a strong case for support for potential donors. So it initiated a review, undertaken by Burnett Works, involving staff across the organisation as well as donors. This achieved a real understanding of what was needed to build and execute a strong, tangible fundraising appeal.

WOMANKIND also decided to test a cash appeal first (its ‘banker’ recruitment method) before converting the pack to a regular giving ask, the following year (2006).


Budgets were very tight so the mailing pack was simple and printed in two colours. Initially it was sent to 26,905 people and recipients were prompted to give a cash gift of £15.

The pack comprised a personalised letter from Maggie Baxter, the charity’s executive director, attached response form, plus a leaflet, involvement postcard and reply envelope.

The mailing focused on the story of Aberash, a 13-year-old girl from Ethiopia. Aberash endured female genital mutilation at the age of three and a forced marriage at 12 to a man who subjected her to sexual violence until WOMANKIND’s partners enabled her to leave him safely and obtain a divorce. Now, she travels the country with their support to tell her story and encourage other young women to speak out against harmful traditions.

WOMANKIND asked recipients of the mailing to stand behind courageous women such as Aberash, to provide the support network they need to find and use their voice, thus showing how protecting one girl can lead to the protection of hundreds more.

Recipients were also invited to write their own message of support to women like Aberash, so that the women of Ethiopia could get a tangible sense of women in the UK standing with them, shoulder to shoulder.

Special characteristics

The response postcard, which was given directly to Aberash, creating a real link between donor and beneficiary.

A powerful case study opened out to the rest of WOMANKIND’s work, especially when donors received their welcome pack, their next communication, which showed other case studies of women who are receiving support from WOMANKIND all around the world.

Influence / impact

The results speak for themselves and this was a hugely positive outcome for WOMANKIND in terms of the recruitment of new donors and the clarity of the messages. In terms of wider impact:

  • The case study has been presented at Institute of Fundraising conferences in the UK and was presented at the International Fundraising Congress in Holland in 2007.
  • The case study has also been featured in trade press, includingFundraising magazine in the UK.


N/A. BW didn’t handle print or list buying.


The mailing’s results far exceeded targets. It achieved a response rate of 2.41 per cent, average gift level of £26.35 and generated income of £17,078 (beating its financial target by 300 per cent). WOMANKIND’s previous recruitment mailing pack averaged 0.7 per cent response.

In addition, more than 500 people used the postcard to send messages of support to women, which WOMANKIND delivered personally to Aberash in Ethiopia (see illustration).

In May 2006, WOMANKIND asked Burnett Works to adapt the mailing to a request for regular giving. Recipients were prompted to give a monthly donation of £4.00. The results were again, very impressive: response rate 1.43 per cent, average monthly donation £5.70, and approximately one in three new donors also returned the postcard with personal messages for Aberash. Year one ROI for this recruitment mailing was 1.33.


The transformation of the organisation’s recruitment materials from a very dry, academic and theoretical base to a human, case study led and powerful mailing pack. The results show the effect that this achieved.