Tuesday, 8 May 2012

One man's junk is another man's treasure

I love junk mail. (That’s what people call it you know – our lovely well thought out direct mail pieces.) Well I collect it. Got unwanted junk mail? Pass it this way.


Inspiration, that’s why.

And I’ll let you into a little secret – inspiration is not that dissimilar from outright theft.

Steal good ideas from anywhere that fuels your imagination, moves or engages you.

I devour films, music, photographs, street signs and books for inspiration. And, of course, DM itself.

If you’re a small organisation you may not be able to afford copyrighters or designers.

But their efforts fall through your door each and every day. Do not be afraid to utilise their good ideas for your purpose. Authenticity is essential. Originality is non-existent.

I recently received a mail-piece from Womankind. Womankind is an international women’s human rights charity working to help women transform their lives in Africa, Asia and Latin America. This particular piece was focused on a safe house for women in Ethiopia.

What I particularly liked was the small note enclosed. This gave me, as the donor, the opportunity to send a personal note directly to the women my money would help.    

Womankind offer me the chance to send a personal note to the women my donation will help.
Such a simple idea – but so powerful. Now I’m thinking how can I use this device for my organisation?  Inspiration, or the theft of an idea – either way….

Just remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: ‘It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.’ *
                                                                                                *I stole this from Paul Arden.




  1. Thank you Rachel. I'm Sarah (not Emma in fact!) Communications Manager at Womankind. Glad you liked the idea - we took some similar cards from supporters to the women our partners support in Bolivia and their response was really moving. Lots of the women had travelled from villages miles away to be there when the cards arrived! We've made a short video about it which we'll be sharing with supporters soon.

  2. Hope you don't mind me featuring it. It was a brilliant device. Loved it. And that's amazing to hear how much the ladies liked the notes from supporters. Look forward to seeing the video!

  3. I love that this gives a really opportunity for the donor to reach out to the beneficiary. Amazing concept and so simple (the best ones always are).