FUNDRAISING NEWS: Children's Society adopts harder approach

Annie Kelly

The Children's Society is moving away from its traditional fundraising approach by launching a controversial direct mail campaign about teenage parents.

A pack has been designed to look like a storybook and explains the financial and emotional strain on a young couple called Jessica and Liam, who became parents at the age of 13.

It describes how they take part in the Children's Society's Peer Education Scheme, visiting schools to relate their experience in the hope of reducing teenage pregnancies. Supporters are asked to donate £55 to help the charity continue with the initiative.

Previously, the organisation has concentrated on more traditional messages of support for disadvantaged and often younger children.

Although initially only mailing out to 33,000 of its long-standing supporters, the Children's Society is confident that donors will react positively to the more challenging messages.

"The storybook format is a soft way of introducing quite a difficult message to our supporters, who may have quite mixed feelings about the issue of teenage parents," said Tracey Lloyd, one-to-one fundraising director at the Children's Society.

"I think that once they realise that the teenage parents have actually been proactively raising awareness of the difficulties of their situation, then they may be more inclined to offer their support."

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