Fill the Beetle, Feed the People

Over 60% response to a local Charity Food Drive…
with more than $7,000 in donations in a single day!

Project start: October 4
Project launch: October 27

Even with the best of intentions, “what you say” can be overshadowed by “how you say it”…

Click here to read this successful charity appeal letter to grocers

Kerr Street Ministries is a local charitable organization in Oakville, Ontario that provides food and shelter assistance to families in need.

One way they generate both public awareness and contributions for their constituents is through a seasonal food drive, usually staged at one or more of the local area’s grocery stores.

For a recent campaign, they were approached by a well-known commercial organization with a plan to generate great exposure for their food drive. “Nerds On Site” had worked with other non-profits, using their brightly-coloured cars to attract attention to the cause. They also provided volunteers to help transport donations from shopping centres to the recipient org’s food stores.

So with a plan in place, KSM prepared to solicit participation from local businesses. But their approach letter, based on a typical “please help the poor” theme, was getting lost in a sea of handout requests to business owners as people got “back to business” at the end of the summer.

Working with the org’s director and executive staff, we wrote a business-oriented appeal to grocery-store managers, highlighting the economic and public-relations advantages of holding the food-drive event at their store. And made sure to mention specific ways they could help, along with a generous list of the support provided by KSM and the ‘Nerds’ to make it almost hands-off easy to participate.

The accompanying reply coupon was designed to reinforce the idea of taking action to make a difference. When KSM’s marketing staff finished the appeal letter with their graphics and final touches, they were ready to introduce the non-profit org’s cause to a new group of potential partners.

The Result?

Of 5 local stores that were initially approached in late August, 4 store managers accepted within weeks. One store eventually had to drop out due to a conflicting scheduled event, leaving 3 locations who were eager to help with the cause!

Of course, an event like this can only be successful through the co-operation of a team of like-minded people.

Kerr Street’s executive staff was tireless in their efforts to call, meet and follow up with store managers, news media representatives, and volunteers. And the Nerds On Site group played a huge part in making the ‘big day’ come off so easily and successfully, with their ‘on-site’ volunteers and a proven theme for the drive.

“The Letter” itself had plenty of support staff behind it.

But imagine the rewarding feeling, listening to the story of one store manager offering to tag specific shelf items for shoppers to donate… placing high-demand items in prominent view… and making room near their store entrance for the bright red Beetle, donated signage and a list of most-needed items to go along with volunteers provided at each location.

Eventually, the day’s total donations of over 351 full bags of groceries — over $7,000 worth of food items! — kept Kerr Street Ministries‘ storage facility busy for more than two weeks of sorting, distributing and serving to their member families.

Click here to read the story from Oakville Today about a woman who chased the Beetles right out of a parking lot!

Lessons Learned

Often the advantage of having ‘another voice’ tell your story is that it helps to break out of old habits. To see your business (and its promotional materials) the same way that your audience does. And to speak in their language, prompting them to connect and telling them what to do next.

Click the big yellow button now, and let’s talk about telling YOUR sales story next!

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