Case Study: WWF

The charity's tiger-themed direct mail asked people to give online. Our expert Elly Woolston gives her view

Organisation: WWF UK
Campaign: Tiger Appeal 2009
Agency: Open Fundraising

The charity decided to take part in the match-funding challenge run by the Reed Foundation in December 2009. It aimed to raise £100,000 in online gifts in order to receive the same amount from the foundation. It launched a direct mail appeal asking supporters to help it hit this target. WWF had run a tiger appeal in 2008 that had failed to hit its targets.

The campaign

The direct mail pack was sent to existing appeal donors and a postcard version was sent to people who had campaigned on the charity's behalf, asking them to donate online. The campaign had two phases: an initial appeal and a reminder pack.

Why this approach?

Emily Pringle, supporter fundraising manager at the charity, says the pack avoided a glossy style because the charity was aiming to create the impression that it had been prepared in haste. "We used two fairly gruesome images of a snared tiger, which were in envelopes that carried a warning," she says. "The idea was to prepare donors for a shock."


WWF claims this campaign was its most successful donor appeal yet. Its first phase aimed to raise £53,760 and actually raised £343,247, with a return on investment of £9.31 for every £1 spent.

The reminder mailing generated £84,000 online, which, combined with major donor support, meant the charity achieved the £100,000 target in just over two days.

By Kaye Wiggins



I really like the simplicity of this appeal. It taps into supporters' love of tigers, and the statistics give it a great sense of urgency.

The pack contains good, honest copy and strong, striking images. The juxtaposition of the image of the happy, healthy tiger and the tiger killed by the poacher really hits home. It is sad and has the desired effect without being too gruesome.

The only thing that might have improved this appeal would have been the inclusion by the charity of more information about the impact someone's donation could have. In my experience, this helps to lift response rates.

Creativity 4
Delivery 4
Total: 8 out of 10

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