Fundraising: Case study - Scope rewarded for work in the field

Summary

Scope's September appeal focused on the work of its community field officers and raised £78,600. It was the first campaign to carry the charity's new logo following its redesign last year.

Background

Scope provides support services to people in England and Wales with cerebral palsy and campaigns for their rights. 2004 saw the charity direct attention towards promotion of equal rights with its Time to Get Equal campaign, backed by high-profile people such as Nelson Mandela and Cherie Booth.

In keeping with this, the charity's logo was revamped to incorporate an 'equals' symbol into the 'o' of Scope.

"We wanted to move in a different direction, focusing on equality," said Biagio Borromeo, the charity's donor development manager.

Scope sends out around seven cash appeals a year, each one focusing on a specific theme. "We want to give our donors a global view of what we are doing, to increase their motivation to donate," said Borromeo.

The direct mail appeal, sent out to 42,300 warm supporters, focused on the work of the charity's community field officers.

How it worked

Recipients were one-off cash donors who had been supporting the charity for a while, some of them for as long as 20 years. "They would have all made a donation within the past 24 months," said Borromeo.

They received a mail pack containing a letter asking for a donation of £10 and signed by a community field officer from their region. Information about the charity's legacy scheme could also be found on the back of the donation form - one-third of Scope's income comes from legacies.

The appeal aimed to show that Scope operates at a local level, and that its community field officer team can be relied upon at key times in the lives of disabled people, as shown by the three photos inserted into the pack. The photos portrayed people with cerebral palsy, and each had a handwritten letter on the reverse. One told the story of Mark, an 18 year-old who regained his independence after a Scope fieldworker helped him to convince his local council to reinstate his care assistance.

Results

The appeal raised £78,600 against a target of £51,700. The response rate was 13 per cent, with an average gift of £14.34.

Borromeo said that the money raised would be added to the charity's general income, which would later be split depending on projects and needs. EXPERT VIEW - NICK KAVANAGH, creative director at Cascaid

The best thing about this pack is that it did what it set out to do.

It pulled in funds with an enviable 13 per cent response rate, exceeding its target by a healthy margin.

The colour shot and no-nonsense 'Just say yes' proposition on the outside got me into the pack. The story in the letter was moving and the case history cards, though a familiar device, did their job.

So, from a creative point of view, why did it leave me feeling dissatisfied?

Perhaps I'm just being picky, but as I went through the pack I kept getting distracted. As you can see from the list below, there were a number of lively ideas but many of them didn't seem to be explored in any depth.

The phrase 'herding cats' comes to mind. Tracking through, I encountered:

- The 'Just say yes' proposition up front

- A new 'equality' logo at the top of the letter with a totally confusing strapline separated from it at the bottom

- The personalised message that Scope works in my locality or region

- The option to find out about legacies

- A 'fresh start' proposition on the case history cards

- Nine different named people

- A handy bookmark reminding me not to use patronising language.

Too much in one pack? Perhaps. But it got me thinking. Maybe neatness isn't such a good thing. For Dorothy Donor, maybe a roomful of related but independent cats works. The results seem to agree.

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