WORKSHOP: Case Study - Traidcraft brews up a mailing success

CLAIRE SAMES

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Background: Traidcraft is one of the UK's largest fair trade organisations, which was set up in 1979. Rather than supplying aid to developing countries, Traidcraft helps to fight poverty through trade and by training and encouraging individuals to turn traditional skills such as textile production and carpentry into a secure income. The trading arm of the charity then sells the end products through a mail order catalogue.

Traidcraft gave direct marketing specialist Whitewater the task of raising the profile of the organisation's charitable work to match that of the trading arm. In response to the brief, Whitewater mailed 83,000 recipients, of which 13,000 are on the charity's database and 70,000 come from the trading arm.

Aims of the appeal: Traidcraft wanted to generate awareness of its development work in the Third World by targeting customers of the trading arm in order to raise funds and increase its database of regular donors.

A target of 800 new donors was set, along with an income target of £47,000 at 6.67 return on investment to be raised through its 13,000 regular donors.

This means that for every pound the charity spends on direct marketing, it expects to make £6.67.

How it worked: The direct mail appeal consisted of a leaflet with a covering letter, which focused on Traidcraft's work with small businesses in Tanzania.

It showed case studies of three people who had been helped through the charity's special workshops and business support activities.

As most of the mail order customers and enquirers were unlikely to be aware of Traidcraft's overseas project work, the pack contained a tea bag approved by Fair Trade, which is one of the products easily recognisable from the Traidcraft catalogue. The tea bag tempted readers to "Try a taste of freedom", as suggested on the front of the envelope, "and read how you can help someone get a taste of freedom".

The mailer invited the recipient to take a break, make a cup of tea and consider making a donation to help with the charity's development work and help more traders break free from poverty. Each direct mail was personalised, and the donations made were anything from £10 upwards based on previous giving and the value of past purchases. A personalised reply coupon was also produced with the Gift Aid function.

Results: The appeal was successful in raising £56,000 at a return on investment of 8.00, which was beyond the charity's expectations and generated more than 900 new donors that gave an average gift of £26.30.

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