Fundraising: Expert view - Neil Henderson, creative planner, DMS

This campaign makes me wonder if ActionAid might have somehow missed out on doubling the response level.

I have to assume this pack encapsulates ActionAid's best understanding of what committed donors need to see to give again: five portrait photos of children, and 13 pages packed with copy that is cool and logical rather than warm, passionate and engaging. But I wonder how many of the charity's 4,000 best and most generous donors had the time and inclination to read it.

Interestingly, ActionAid sent an almost identical letter to donors who had given only £15 over the past year - including me. Do its committed givers deserve only the same as me?

An 18 per cent response from the charity's 4,000 best donors is no great surprise when they are only contacted three times a year, and already each give hundreds of pounds a year.

But what if ActionAid had taken a leaf out of its own 2003 donor mailing on the same subject - its proposition then was also to give children back their lives, except it was more focused and more picture-rich, and left me feeling really connected to the specific children I was invited to help.

I can't help but wonder what might have happened if that lovely 2003 package had been adapted and sent to ActionAid's most committed donors last September. If that had been the case, maybe the charity could have reaped 38 per cent of response and £500,000 of income. But I'm afraid we'll never know.

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