International charity Women for Women sponsorship increased by 74% due to thoughtful direct mail


Submitted by: Rachel Aldighieri 19/07/2016

Brand Name: Women for Women International         Agency: LIDA


In war-torn countries, women suffer unimaginable horrors. Raped, mutilated and abused, they are left with no future once the militia moves on. Right now, women around the world are left with shattered dreams and shattered lives. Women for Women International is an extraordinary charity, led by passionate women with a desire to transform the lives of women like them who hold strong hopes, dreams and ambitions but are living in dire circumstances. The charity enters villages, identifies trades in need and trains women to read, write and run a business. They don’t just help them to survive, but to thrive. One small card made a big impact: driving donations, sponsor numbers and successful word of mouth that doubled the success of this campaign

The Case Study


To support one woman, Women for Women International need a monthly donation of £22 for 12 months. Despite a small budget, the campaign set out to reach women who not only had this financial capability but also the sphere of influence to pass the message to their peers.

The Most Important Contact campaign targeted a specific group of women in professions such as law and finance. Knowing that successful women like to help and mentor other women, the charity invited them to do just that – for a woman in another country.

Targeted in their workplace, prospective supporters were found through a mix of direct mail and leaflets delivered to offices. The team addressed them as professional women, too – an approach that stood out from the sea of charity appeals they saw on their doormats and in their inboxes and newsfeeds every day.



Instead of the hackneyed charity approach of sympathy, the campaign employed a more respectful empowering strategy. Networking is hugely important to this audience, so Women for Women International introduced them to the most important contact they would make all year – and asked them to quite literally turn a woman’s life around.

Prospects received a simple business card, with the name and title, for example:



On the reverse her title changed: BUSINESS OWNER, EMPLOYER, INSPIRATION

The card included a call to action: SUPPORT A WOMAN,NOT A CHARITY.

The approach was deliberately minimalist, simple, direct and powerful, foregoing any image of the woman herself and relying on the power of copy.



  • By asking professional UK women to use their success to bring about another woman’s success, built a personal connection between the charity and its highly targeted audience.
  • Quantitative research showed 50% of respondents had become a sponsor as a result of being shown the card by someone else – a key indicator that it was a hot topic of conversation. 75% said they would pass the card on themselves.
  • 100% of respondents agreed with the statement “different to the usual charity marketing approach” and 75% though it was “clever”. This conversation starter approach has helped the charity in other ways, initiating discussions about brand partnerships and opening opportunities within women’s networks that will be instrumental in expanding the message.
  • Most importantly, the campaign increased sponsor numbers by 74% and was highly efficient, vital for a charity of this size, with £6 of donations per pound spent.

Case Submitted By: Direct Marketing Association UK


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