The role of text design in charity appeal response optimisation

Miller, Sally (2010) The role of text design in charity appeal response optimisation. MA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    This study examined the function of text design in charity direct mail appeals, focussing particularly on how it affects recipients’ intention to open charity appeal envelopes. In a time of economic uncertainty, and with developments in the direct marketing field that threaten to negatively affect public perception of direct mail, it is more important than ever for charities to understand what drives recipients to respond positively to their appeals. Clearly the first hurdle in eliciting a donation is convincing the recipient to open the appeal envelope, and this dissertation begins to provide an understanding of the importance and potential of visual design in achieving this objective. In order to explore current design practices in the field, five envelopes from existing British fundraising appeals were collected and analysed. The envelopes were then presented to participants along with a questionnaire which measured respondents’ intention to open each of the envelopes, as well as a more detailed exploration of their preferences and attitudes towards various design features. The results showed that cause involvement and knowledge of the charity had the strongest effect on participants’ intention to open the envelope, and therefore envelopes which did not make the cause or originating organisation clear were significantly less successful than those that did. The use of colour and images was also found to be a positive influence, unless the images were deemed to be too graphic, which made participants uncomfortable about what distressing images they might find inside, or too artificially staged, in which case participants tended to feel manipulated and reassert their freedom by choosing not to respond to the appeal.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Languages and Area Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:49
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:16

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