Words: Sarah Stone, Director and Founder of Stone Barrell

We love to hear that our work is helping our amazing nonprofit clients do more good.

Who says it’s too late to celebrate Christmas in April?

Okay, probably everyone. But we’ve heard some exciting Christmas news that we can’t wait ‘til December to celebrate...

The Christmas match appeal we wrote for nonprofit Viva raised more than £35,000 over their appeal target – that’s 45% more than the team were hoping to raise, and a 15% increase on funds raised for their 2020 Christmas appeal. In total, £116,000 was donated towards Viva’s life-changing work with vulnerable children across the globe through the appeal!

Viva commissioned Stone Barrell to write and edit their multifaceted 2021 Christmas appeal, which included concept creation, a direct mail, a leaflet, four emails and website copy. We also made the team an appeal graphic.

Viva’s 2021 Christmas appeal needed to be focused around the Viva Network’s Christmas Parties – an opportunity for children living in extremely challenging circumstances to have one of the most fun days of their year, and to be connected to a life-changing community. 

Having looked through content and stories from Viva’s partner networks around the world, we decided to focus on two children in the main appeal, Dipak from India and Félix from El Salvador. We shared snippets of their stories in the main appeal letter, unpacking them further, and sharing the stories of other children Viva is supporting, through the appeal leaflet and follow-up emails. Our goal was to create a cohesive appeal, with every communication supporting the key message: by donating, you can give vulnerable children an unforgettable day – and a gift that will last a lifetime.

You can give a child a gift of hope.

Viva told us that the number of gifts they received in response to their 2021 Christmas appeal in the UK went up by 21% from 2020, and that the most common donation amount doubled (from £50 to £100). This appeal was also two times as successful at re-engaging lapsed donors than the year before.

We founded Stone Barrell to help nonprofits better tell their stories – all with the goal of enabling them to raise more support to do even more life-transforming work and reach more amazing people with help. So when we get reports like this, that give us stats that show we actually are making a difference… Well, that’s just the best thing ever!

“Stone Barrell used their vast experience of writing clear, concise copy to shape a suite of excellent Christmas appeal materials for Viva,” says Andrew Dubock, Viva’s Fundraising and Communications Director. “They took information gleaned from our reports and honed the messaging, re-telling stories of children in India and El Salvador with both sensitivity and energy. They asked the right questions, understood what we wanted – and more than delivered. The result was a successful appeal, which really connected with our supporters. 

“It was a delight to work alongside Stone Barrell last Christmas and we look forward to future partnerships.”

We definitely echo the sentiment here at Stone Barrell! It was an absolute joy working with the team at Viva. We also made some infographics for their 2021 Annual Review (pages 8-9) earlier in the year, so if you have a minute, go take a look.

Need help with a direct mail appeal? Drop us a message and let’s chat!

Find out more about the fantastic work of Viva and how you can support their network at viva.org.