This mailing was also remarkable for the fact that, when creating the appeal for funds, a bright spark in the creative department of Greenpeace's agency suggested that alongside the usual direct-mail prompt boxes for £10, £20, £50 and whatever, for this special appeal Greenpeace should include a prompt box for £250,000.
It seemed a zany idea, but a characteristically cheeky approach from Greenpeace. And it worked, because one donor did give £200,000! We're still not quite sure why he didn't give the full quarter of a million.
Greenpeace did lose the case on a point of law, but the judge felt that it had the moral high ground so he awarded costs to the other side of just one penny. Having raised a lot of money that wasn't needed for the purpose, GP did the only honourable thing and offered donors their money back. Only six took up the offer. The guy who gave 200 big ones wasn't among them. He and all the other generous supporters said to Greenpeace something like, "Keep it, we trust you to put it to good use."
So, it can still pay if things don't quite go according to plan.
Special characteristics: Possibly the first time that any major fundraiser has actually asked for such a huge sum via a tick box in an emergency appeal mailing — even if it was tongue-in-cheek.
Influence/impact: More than anything, this exhibit is all about the real meaning of "brand." The audacity of the tick box was entirely on brand for Greenpeace. So, as well as working, it didn't alienate those who couldn't give that much. And the money-back offer did more to build brand trust than almost anything else Greenpeace might have done. So all in all, it was about an organisation wearing its values on its sleeve — and profiting hugely.