Focus: Campaign of the week - Bad housing leads to child poverty

Georgina Lock,

Shelter is combining its campaigning and fundraising in a bid to highlight the lack of decent affordable housing and to get supporters on board.

The campaign asks new and existing supporters to sign a petition card calling on Gordon Brown to commit the Government to providing 60,000 more social rented homes by 2011. The campaign also asks for donations.

Ben McNaught, direct marketing executive at Shelter, said: "We're hoping that, by more closely integrating our campaigning activity with our fundraising in this way, we will identify further opportunities to extend our supporter recruitment activity in a really cost-effective way."

He added: "We are targeting a politically aware readership because we want to appeal to people who know about the progress the Government has made but who are clued up on the spending commitments that are necessary."

The card highlights the effects the lack of decent affordable housing can have through the case study of a little boy who suffers repeatedly from breathing problems and chest infections because his family has to live in a damp one-bedroom flat.

Shelter argues that the provision of extra homes will help lift thousands of children out of bad housing. The campaign is the first time since 2004 that the charity has used inserts to recruit new supporters.

It begins with an initial test run of 175,000 inserts across a range of titles, including The Big Issue, Time Out, The Week and The Spectator.

These were chosen to reach readers who would be most likely to understand Shelter and the fact that the organisation makes an impact through political campaigning.

Bryan Miller, planning director at Whitewater, said: "It is a more complex request than purely asking for money, but it does deliver the long-term solution."

The two-pronged approach to the campaign is intended not only to generate protest responses to be sent to the Chancellor, but also to recruit new monthly donors.

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