An Unstoppable Christmas Fundraising Appeal, 10+ Years and Counting: Merchants Quay Ireland’s Book of Thanks

Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI)

MQI Book of Thanks sample

MQI is an amazing organization helping people who struggle with homelessness and addiction. Back in 2010, my design colleague Sandie Collette and I were asked to create a Christmas direct mail appeal based on gratitude: reasons clients and staff of MQI were grateful to donors for all they helped make possible, while still connected to an unrestricted, urgent ask for support. The result was the Book of Thanks, which that first year generated an unprecedented 36.3% response rate and an average gift of €140. Storytelling was kept simple and emotive in the book itself – “We are thankful for warm socks and thawing toes”“We are thankful for the promise of safe sleep” – while a 2-page cover letter told one client’s story in-depth each year, again with a clear, emotive ask for help. We created the packs for nine years, and evolved with them as they grew to include social media and email fundraising. Even today, well over a decade later, MQI’s Book of Thanks is still going strong: I’m proud to say a new version mails every Christmas, with older versions mailing as acquisition packs and door drops. Response has ranged from 20+% to as high as 40+% some years, with thousands of people getting the help they need to come back from homelessness and addiction – truly a reason to be grateful.

(More on MQI in Thankology and “Hacking the Hidden Language of Your Donor’s Brain,” Change for Better.)