Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Wildlife Charity Asks: Are 'Free' Gifts a Good Way to Recruit New Supporters?

23 March, 2005 - 00:00 -- World Land Trust

Is it cost-effective and ethical for a charity to use some of its funds to pay for 'free' gifts sent out to new supporters? The World Land Trust (WLT), an international conservation organisation based in Suffolk, is currently asking this question as the charity tries to come up with new ways of recruiting supporters.

Free gifts are a common way that charities attract new members. These range from pens and stickers to more extravagant items such as t-shirts and soft toys. But a potential supporter may well question whether this is a good way of spending charitable funds. Arguably the offer of free gifts may actually put some supporters off supporting a charity ? surely not the intention of the organisation offering the gift.

The WLT has so far resisted using gifts to recruit new donors, and many of the Trust's existing supporters have confirmed their dislike of organisations that spend money on such 'freebies'. However, the Trust realises that certain types of gifts may in fact be an effective way of recruiting new donors. Examples of gifts that may attract supporters are fact sheets and postcards of the areas and wildlife that are protected by the charity's work.

To gain more insight into the views of potential supporters, the WLT is currently running a poll on its website, where visitors can vote on how they feel about this issue. To take part in the poll, visit

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