SPCA Auckland has a 120-year history providing an essential frontline for animal welfare in the region (both urban and rural). Given the focus for funding has always been the protection of animals, SPCA Auckland’s buildings have had no real upgrade for some years. The condition of the roofs at the animal complex had deteriorated drastically throughout the rainy season in 2012, flooding reception and offices, damaging equipment and electrical wiring, and creating health and safety issues for the largely volunteer staff trying to operate under these conditions.
A traditional public awareness campaign would simply take too long to raise the necessary funds (repairs were estimated at $300,000), as well as competing with other fundraising appeals.
The solution was a creatively impactful direct mail campaign targeting a small number of hand-picked contacts – only those who had access to exactly the materials and labour needed.
To drive home the gravity of the cause, the initial direct mail contact was followed by a call from Christine Kalin, the CEO of SPCA Auckland.
The creative rationale was to demonstrate the problem in the most impactful way, appealing to the hearts as well as the minds of the people able to help. A piece of old, rusted roofing iron carried the message ‘It’s raining on our cats and dogs’ and was impossible to ignore. The attached mailer personalised the appeal to the individual, summarised the need, and illustrated how their help could be acknowledged with signage on the new roof. The overall tone of the piece was brave – standing out from the usual worthiness of its competitor charities. And it deliberately looked cheap; you can’t ask for help with an expensive looking piece!
Within just two weeks of the campaign arriving, SPCA Auckland had secured the commitments it needed. Such was the enthusiasm of recipients that SPCA Auckland ended up having to turn away offers of help from some recipients. What’s more, the entire campaign was executed for under $3,000.