Saturday, November 29, 2008

SOFII Saturday Showcase VI: Bringing the sense of touch to fundraising

UK agency bluefrog are well know for their brilliant creativity. One of their clients Sense, who work with deaf and blind kids, use face-to-face (direct dialogue) to recruit regular givers. bluefrog worked with Sense to find a way for strangers to identify with the kids and motivate them to decide to help Sense.

Tim Longfoot, then a bluefrog director (now a director of Open) worked with a specialist face-to-face fundraising agency, Gift, and Sense to develop a unique approach to direct dialogue.

Close your eyes and just think for a moment about kids who are deaf and blind. How can you make that positive? It’s a tough cause, and quite difficult to put across in print.

Tim reckoned face-to-face was ideal. ‘Imagine the isolated world of a deaf/blind child…’ says Tim ‘Yet the most amazing things can be done to reach these children, with Sense’s help. Our fundraisers are trained to show this to potential donors in the most dramatic and involving way.’

How did they do this? When a passer-by is prepared to stop and listen, there and then on the pavement the fundraiser will create for them the imaginary silent world of a deaf/blind child. In one hand the fundraiser holds a length of chain, in the other a piece of soft cloth. ‘Touch is crucial communication for a deaf/blind child’ explains Tim. ‘We ask our potential donor to close her or his eyes and grasp the chain in their hand. They imagine the chain is from a child’s swing and can see immediately the pleasure of a child holding such a simple gift; how it reaches in to the child’s silent world. The piece of cloth represents the mother’s sleeve as she adopts the open-armed greeting that for these children symbolises ‘love’. In this simple, involving way people are able to touch and feel what it means to be a child with neither sound nor vision. Often, they are touched by this experience and many willingly agree to help.

Sign up through the SOFII home page and search for Sense to see the whole exhibit.

Sean Triner


Laurie Pringle said...

Hi Sean: Are you able to share any of the results of the touch/face to face initiative?

'Sean is always learning' said...

Sorry - I missed your comment, but I don't have the results. Try emailing the bluefrog team (follow the link to 'contact us') or Sense?

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