The horrific tsunami in the Indian Ocean late last year brought instant and gratifying responses from myriad governments, private donors, the military and nonprofit organizations from around the world. Among them was Oxfam America.
Oxfam America was founded in 1942 by a group of Quakers, social activists and Oxford academics who called themselves the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief in response to the plight of refugees in Greece.
Today, Oxfam America is one of some 3,000 partners of Oxfam International in 100 countries that operate under the following vision statement: “We believe that the empowerment of local organizations is a vital aspect of sustainable poverty alleviation and an important dimension of the achievement of civil and political rights.”
Trying the tried and true
Oxfam’s long-term control mailing is a fascinating, no-nonsense fundraising effort that slaps the wrist of its glitzy competitors. Check out the first paragraph of the letter:
Dear Friend, Here’s what you won’t find accompanying this letter:
- address labels that “guilt trip” you into giving;
- an expensive calendar that you don’t need (and we can’t afford);
- a vague-sounding petition addressed to somebody in Washington;
- or heart-rending photos that play on your emotions.
What you will find is a straightforward case for one of the most effective humanitarian aid agencies anywhere in the world. …
P.S. There are more than enough calendars, address labels and other gimmicks arriving in your mailbox. But I’m willing to bet there’s no other organization that’s capable of doing more good with every dollar you send than Oxfam America does. Please join us.
The basic mailing consists of just four elements: No. 10 carrier envelope; a three-page letter (two nested sheets of paper); order card; and business reply envelope with the de rigueur handwritten request in the upper left-hand corner: Your first class stamp helps save us money!