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Don Bosco - No case study? No problem!

The Challenge

Normally a case study-based appeal would be our go-to for this client (especially at Christmas): showing the impact of the donor's support through a child who is directly benefiting.

But early in the creative process, we realised we didn’t have the content we needed - and there were no other potential case studies to use. We needed to do something different to develop the best campaign for the client: we had to get creative. 

The Execution

A heartfelt and personal appeal was key to making this pack work to its potential. We tapped into the donor’s sense of a Christmas spirit and tradition, especially those they would share with their family. We then connected this to a young boy in need of a family and a home this Christmas.

How did we do this? We got Santa to send them a letter.

Yes, really…

We spoke to a volunteer who has been Santa in the Don Bosco house for the last few years: he could tell the donor first-hand about the boys who live in the house. This allowed us include emotional content that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. He had a unique point of view that he could share: he was able to tell the donor how the boys are just like any other child at Christmas. That Don Bosco is just like any other home and any other family.

It was very important that the letter felt like a personal letter from Santa to the donor, both content and design wise.

A plain red outer envelope with the name and address lasered on and a ceadúnas designed to look like stamp was used, so that it looked like a personal Christmas card. The letterhead was designed to look like it was from the North Pole (it is from Santa after all!). And included a bounce-back piece for the donor to send their Christmas wises to the boys in Don Bosco. We leaned into the traditional Christmas imagery to appeal to the older demographic – ugly creative works!.

Along with this, we concentrated heavily on segmenting the data to ensure each donor’s past gifts and past support were mentioned in the letter. This is the first time we included a number of different variables within the copy of the letter and we really played into the donor’s past support to show the donor we knew and valued them.

We also segmented the charity's 500 most valuable and loyal donors and made their correspondence a bit more personal by including a handwritten outer and handwritten card in their envelope.

The Results

The results exceeded all targets which had been set for the campaign and performed beyond our expectations:

  • The income was 31% higher than our target.
  • We achieved an overall response rate of 29% -8% higher than projected.
  • Average gift was 5% higher than projected.
  • The Top donor file of 500 donors who received the special treatment achieved a response rate of 52% (over half of the donors responded!). Just under half of the total income was raised from 13% of the file.

As illustrator Victo Ngai says “There are no boring assignments, only boring solutions!”. So next time you’re struggling to make something work or think there just isn’t a way to make your content you have into a great campaign, just ask Santa for some inspiration.

This campaign also won Bronze in the Smartest High Volume Direct Mail category, and was shortlisted in the best Fundraising/Not for Profit at the An Post Smart Marketing Awards 2019