FUNDRAISING NEWS: Children's group uses email to collect toys

ANNIE KELLY

Children's charity Toys for Children is using an online campaign, including video clips and an animated invitation, to generate funds and collect more than 1,000 toys for its Christmas appeal.

Digital marketing company Frontwire has created a campaign that uses the charity's annual fundraising event as a hook to ask people to donate money or buy a toy. An email designed as a personal invitation will be sent to contacts provided by the charity's committee members inviting them to attend a party with the theme of "Naughty but Nice", where they are requested to bring a toy or donate £20 on the door.

The recipient will receive a personalised message and can click on a link to watch a promotional video clip that explains how supporting the campaign will benefit children across the country. Once people have purchased their tickets they will receive a customised invitation created by virtual greeting card company Moonpig.

Jason Gleave, chief executive at Toys for Children, believes that the addition of visual content will help encourage recipients to pass the invite on to friends and family.

"People react to a visual stimulus and the video will communicate our message in a way that the printed word can't," he said. "The charity sector produces so much content in the form of promotional videos or adverts and these materials could be used a lot more effectively in email marketing."

Toys for Children hopes that the email will draw around 450 people to the party and will generate additional funds through an online donations feature.

The campaign is being endorsed by retailer Toys "R" Us, which will work with the charity on deals for purchasing and distributing the gifts. Many of the toys will be given to Refuge, a charity that helps families escaping domestic violence.

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