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Genuine transparency & trust

Howard Lake | 12 September 2008 | Blogs

Many of you will have probably read the article about Trust in the latest edition of Professional Fundraising.
Personally, I agree with some, though certainly not all of the points raised. However, I do believe the example of how the RSPCA is using the back of mail packs to explain how direct mail is an effective fundraising activity is an excellent one. This idea was featured in the PF supplement on Direct Marketing in 2007, and we have also highlighted it on our website www.50fundraisingideas.com (it’s number 22).
Related to this I wanted to share another new idea we have developed with one or two of our braver clients to also try and address the issue of trust, particularly with donor acquisition campaigns.
As has been well documented, these campaigns generate lots of complaints from very irate recipients wanting to know exactly where their names have been obtained from. This is a fact of donor acquisition life.
Below is the text from a small postcard that Handicap International UK will be enclosing with their next donor acqusition campaign.
Dear Friend 
Handicap International relies on public support and we use mailings like this to inform people about the work we do.
Occasionally, we contact people who have not previously supported our work in order to introduce them to what we do. We appreciate however that this type of mailing is not always well received and for that reason, I’d like to introduce you to a means of stopping unsolicited appeals*. 
On the reverse of this postcard, you will find all the information you need to stop unsolicited personalised post. Remember, this service is completely free of charge – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. 
I hope this helps.
On the reverse of the card are the contact details for the Mailing Preference Service.
Whilst this will still not prevent the ire of some people, I believe it will significantly reassure and placate many others as they are given the tools to directly take control of their own future mailings.
Not only that, it shows the donor that the charity are responsible, open, and transparent. All qualities associated with trust.
I firmly believe this approach will help set Handicap International UK’s mailing apart from the vast volumes of cold mail being despatched by charities every month.
Of course, it won’t work unless it is supported by an excellent Welcome programme and a carefully thought out and executed communications programme of feedback, appeals, and other opportunities to get involved and become engaged.
Thankfully with Handicap International UK it is – hopefully you can say the same?