For all the talk about great targeting and brilliant creative, to my mind, the single most important element that influences how much income we generate is the central idea around which the appeal is built.

The Art Fund appeal for the Blue Rigi which won the best use of DM at the recent IOF awards sums this approach up. When the painting first went on sale in 1842, it sold for 80 guineas (£84). This was the central thought around which the appeal was built. There was no clever creative or targeting. We simply sent a letter with a reproduction of the  painting to the complete file and asked them to give the original purchase price – with amazing results.

It was why I was so excited to find Afrigadget (thanks Andy). It’s a resource full of great examples of ingenious thinking from throughout Africa. It’s ideas like these that get my mouth watering. Whether it’s the elephant pumps, the vertical farms or even the yeast powered mobile phone charger, its this sort of thing that can breathe new life into your donor file by exciting and engaging donors.

And it doesn’t have to be just in the developing world that ideas like this can be found. You could perhaps find the answer to your next appeal on a beach.

It might be hard work finding examples of projects like these, but when you discover them, its more than worth all the extra hassle. By providing donors with stories that they actually want to read about and become involved with, we change the very nature of the relationship. Rather than teasing people into envelopes, we’ll know that our appeals will be opened and read on the strength of our logo.

That’s real brand power!