Sharpen your pencil

I hate getting direct mail from charities – particuarly those enclosing a cheap biro – but this advert from Malaysia (Link to Ads of the World) is great.  It captures the essence and values of Amnesty – write for freedom.  Clear and simple. 

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Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.

4 thoughts on “Sharpen your pencil”

  1. Heather, I recevied a direct mail piece from a charity recently that had a nickel (i.e., five-cent piece) taped to the inside and showing through the envelope’s windowpane. The accompanying letter told me what this nickel would translate into for blah, blah, blah. The appeal didn’t work. I unstuck the coin and then recycled the information. (The Amnesty pitch is much better.)
    I did want to draw your attention to a wonderful, online charitable website,, run by the inspiring (yet quite young) Tom Williams out of Vancouver, BC. is “an online community for people who want to change the world.”
    I think you’ll like the community rating system for each designated cause re: Importance, Source, Informative and Quality. (Plus the amounts the causes hope to raise.) I know some people who gave donations through this website as Christmas presents this last year.
    I first learned about at last year’s inaugural mesh conference
    where Tom was a panelist. I actually went up to him at the evening social and told him how inspiring I found his concept and words (for which he seemed most appreciative). Later on he was interviewed on a major TV network’s Webmania segment Anyhow, he’s one of the very few to be asked back for mesh07 (like Richard Edelman, this time as a keynote interview subject, on The Web and Philanthropy…so no pencils we can presume). The sold-out conference takes place next week.

  2. This reminds me, although not direct mail I know, to the NHS book mark in the shape of a toothbrush which says, What every bed time story should begin with.

    Simple, but effective.

  3. Judy – thanks for the links and comments on givemeaning. Online donations certainly seem to have caught on – most of the people I know who’ve been involved in charity sponsorship fund-raisers recently use online methods of getting donations.

    Jill – NHS bookmark sounds interesting, although of course, the types of parents who read bedtime stories will be those who clean teeth too. But nice promotional idea.

    Richard – I’m sure I’ve read a report on the % spent previously, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to work it out since often the marketing is provided by corporates partnering with charities, or falls under broader categories such as branding. Charity “marketing” has become big business – we looked at this as a CIPR case study a couple of years ago, so I’ll dig out some statistics and sources from then and post on it.

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