Good News from ChildFund Australia

June 11, 2020 Eve Heidemann

March Appeal doubled income against previous year 

ChildFund Australia’s March appeal on maternal health in Timor-Leste raised $100k; double the income of the previous year. This was a collaborative effort that involved great coordination between ChildFund’s Direct & Digital, Philanthropy and Communications teams, as well as direct marketing agencies. 


Just after the appeal had lodged, COVID-19 struck. Our entire office was going through what everyone in our world was. Reforecasts. Tension. Uncertainty. Serious concern about all the individuals around the globe impacted and our loved ones. There was also significant concern about whether any donors could still give and whether we should proceed with a tax appeal.  

We had a number of new team members join (Jon-Paul Sandercock and Naomi Henry) who, in conjunction with Direct Marketing Manager Kevin Truong, were really instrumental in making the campaign a success and taking our direct marketing program to new heights.

We managed to reduce costs compared to the prior year by 17% moving our net income from $14k the prior year to almost $75k. 


Overall, the income raised was $102,405 against $48,329 last year. Our response rate also up 14%. Our ROI improved from 1.41 to 3.6. Net income rose from $14,040 to $73,933 and the amount of major gifts obtained also improved significantly from 2019 to 2020.

We changed the signatory from our CEO to Rita Mu, who is a member of the communications team. She wrote a very personal account as she had been seconded to Timor-Leste for 3 months in 2019, and also has family from Timor-Leste. Rita met with individuals featured as case studies in person, and took all images for the campaign.

The opening line of the copy had a lot of power, with Rita noting that despite Timor-Leste's close geographical proximity, maternal mortality rates continue to remain high, with little change since her father’s birth there over 40 years ago. 

One of the key principles in direct mail is ensuring the relationship between the signatory and donor is an authentic one and I feel as a team we did this in a very honest and genuine way. Our campaign was boosted by working in close collaboration with our major donor team who also broke records for a March campaign.

It was an incredibly collaborative effort and it seems that tax is on track to beat last year as well despite COVID-19 which is really important because our organisation is facing incredibly challenging conditions in the environments we are operating.

The most important thing is that the appeal gave our Timor office vital funds which were so uncertain under the post COVID-19 environment. We will be reporting back to donors on the impact of their donations in the next few weeks but we also collaborated with our programs team on a thank you video with people sending videos in from Timor-Leste stating how much a major donor’s gift meant to them personally.

Read more about the campaign here.

Or watch this Facebook message from ChildFund staff member Rita:

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