publication date: Nov 28, 2011
Canada Post won plaudits in 2007 when it became the first
major Canadian corporation to adopt mental health as its chosen cause. Since
then, the Canada Post Foundation for
has granted $4.7 million to charities involved in mental
health care, education, research and advocacy programs.
But the Crown corporation's recent move to raise awareness
of its commitment raised red flags among direct mail fundraisers. Without
previous announcement or apparent consultation, a 2cm x 14cm "SUPPORT MENTAL
HEALTH" message in both official languages began to appear across the top of
envelopes, cancelling the stamps and intruding upon the landscape of all
For fundraisers, the message conflicted with carefully
crafted envelopes and messages designed to inspire support for their own
causes. When fundraising agency Blakely
noticed the message in its seed mail, its production
partner, Prime Data
, asked Canada
Post to remove its own charitable message.
"We work so carefully in our design of direct mail pieces. Every
word, space, colour and image is considered for best effect," explains Prime
Data president Steve Falk
. "Peter Blakely
and I were concerned when
we saw this dot matrix, 20-point Arial font message slashed across the mail
piece, covering over our own messages and promoting another organization, and
acted quickly to bring this to the attention of the corporation.
"To the credit of Canada Post, they listened and acted
quickly," he continues. "Within a week of my initial complaint I received
assurances that they would remove this message."
Canada Post continues to promote its valuable charitable
message through other promotional channels.
Falk cites estimates saying one billion dollars, about one-quarter
of all Canadian charitable non-church giving by individuals happens in response
to direct mail. One in four adults contributes to their preferred environmental,
healthcare, educational, animal advocacy and related charities using the mail.
information, Steve Falk, Prime Data, 289-802-0584,