The Big Issue Foundation has kicked off a series of direct response ads in its magazine to recruit donors from its readership. The launch follows the appointment of advertising agency TDA last April to develop a fundraising campaign.
At first, each issue of The Big Issue will feature one advert. Printed in simple white and green characters, the advert starts by thanking readers for giving the vendor enough money to buy a cup of tea.
It then invites them to take further steps towards the vendor's wellbeing and future. Readers are told that, by donating £3 a month, they can contribute to providing homeless people with training, a job or a home.
"People who buy the magazine like the idea that they are helping the vendor directly," said Sarah Miller, head of fundraising at the Big Issue Foundation. "This campaign will show how a regular donation will enable us to provide additional support."
The Big Issue Foundation aims to help homeless and socially excluded people to regain their independence and self-esteem.
In 2002, 55 people found accommodation through its resettlement services and 22 people started work.
The charity's biggest sources of income are the Government and individuals . It would like to increase the amount of money from the latter by boosting one-off cash donations, but it first needs to build a supporter base of monthly donors. The best way to achieve this is to recruit committed givers paying by direct debit.
"Most of our individual supporters have been recruited via The Big Issue, but we have not been maximising opportunities," said Miller.
"The new adverts contain a much stronger 'ask', and the focus is on regular giving. As a charity, we are keen to increase our unrestricted income and, as such, have increased our direct marketing budget this year."
While the charity has set no target, it expects that around 15 new donors will register each week. Direct mail packs will subsequently be sent to existing supporters to reactivate their donations.
By the end of the year, the Big Issue Foundation will take the campaign one step further by putting loose inserts into The Guardian and The Observer.