FUNDRAISING NEWS: Campaign Watch - Just breaking

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The importance of solidarity in the relationship between aid charity Cafod, its donors and the people it helps in developing countries, is the central theme of a newsletter sent out to Cafod's 53,000 donors this month.

Called Side by Side, the newsletter aims to create closer ties with the charity's donors by informing them about the projects and campaigns it runs throughout the world.

The newsletter is the fourth of its kind. Direct marketing agency DMS advised Cafod to mail out a newsletter twice a year, one during the summer and another during the winter, as a donor loyalty vehicle. It includes a summary of the charity's annual activities and provides more in-depth information through a series of case studies and picture stories.

In the current issue donors can read the story of Sindiswa, a South African girl who was left on her own with no resources after her mother died of Aids when she was nine. But thanks to the support of Cafod's partner organisation Thandanani, Sindiswa attends school and receives regular food parcels.

Readers can also find information about Cafod's campaign for the rights of factory workers in Mexico who earn less than £10 a day for 12 hours' work, assembling components for IBM computers.

Two different back pages were produced for the newsletter to target two different types of donor. The first version was addressed to 37,000 ad hoc supporters and encouraged them to make regular donations, while the second, which was sent to committed givers, asked the recipient to leave a legacy to the charity in their will.

Although it includes a section where recipients can sign up for a donation, the mail pack's primary aim is not to raise funds. Its message is one of solidarity, one of the charity's core values, along with compassion and hope.

The pack contains a letter inviting recipients to give their opinion on Cafod's work and suggest topics they would like to see addressed in the next newsletter. This enables the charity to learn more about its supporters and find out which issues most interest them.

Matt Parkes, direct marketing officer at Cafod, said: "We receive around 1,500 responses after each issue, and from reading these it is clear that donors appreciate being shown how their donations are making a difference."

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