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Analysis of direct and indirect mail from the Salvation Army and Oxfam.

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Introduction

Analysis of direct and indirect mail from the Salvation Army and Oxfam Many charities use the mail system to solicit donations from the general public. Charity advertising is very different from other forms of advertising, as the main purpose of charity ads is to persuade target audiences to donate money, rather than buy a product. Oxfam uses many techniques to entice the reader to pledge money, just as the Salvation Army does but both in entirely different ways. The Salvation Army writes their letters personally whereas Oxfam write their letters formally to the household owner. These examples use quite different techniques to persuade the reader to sign up for a "regular gift". After studying the letter from the Salvation Army, it was obvious from the first glance, the objective of the letter, which was for the reader to donate money. The Salvation Army name and logo is a large feature in the corner of the letter. The reader would immediately recognise the logo and the charities name because they both represent a well known and respected company which has a long standing history in the community. This shows clearly whom the charity is, so you know before you read the letter, where your money will go. This also informs the reader that the charity is a major organisation which is known worldwide. ...read more.

Middle

This rhetorical question makes the reader want to know the answer and read on. The reader becomes curious as to how such a small amount of money could make a difference. Also at the beginning of the letter there is a rectangular box in which 'Please reply within 10 days' is written. This already shows the urgency for a response to the letter. The letter begins Dear Sir/Madam. This gives the impression of the letter being formal but particularly impersonal. The first paragraph uses the repetitions of apologetic language. In the first sentence the company has already apologized in advance for Oxfam writing to the reader. 'I hope you forgive my writing to you like this'. This technique of writing is appealing to the readers. Information is given to let people know the extremes of poverty and illness/disease, and why they need your money. Also, because the information is quite graphic, the realisation of how bad some people's lives are, and how lucky they, themselves are, would shock people into giving a small donation. Images are used throughout the letter to leave "lasting images" with the reader. 'As director of Oxfam I often write to people like yourself to ask you for help.' This gives the reader a sense of importance as the director of this large company has had time to write to them for help. ...read more.

Conclusion

Oxfam used flattering language to almost bribe the reader. 'I often write to people like yourself to ask for help'. It nearly makes you feel guilty enough to pledge the money asked of you. The Salvation Army doesn't apologize for the time the reader gives to read the letter. The technique they use the most is emotional bribary, by keep referring to the suffering and images of poverty/death. They do this to form a greater impact on the readers' emotions.The two charities' have had their letter written by people in different position in the company. Oxfam's letter seems to be written by a less important person in the company compared to the Salvation Army. I believe that the letter sent from Oxfam is the more affective of the two. It has a polite tone, I think that it is very considerate of the director to apologize for the time the reader takes to read the letter. I think the tone of the Red Cross is considerably less friendly. This is noticeable from the beginning when it addresses the reader as 'support'. There are many other ways of addressing the reader such as, dear friend or by his or her first name. Oxfam makes it much easier for the reader to pledge money. The reader is given a pen, envelope and a donation form, The Salvation Army only includes a donation form. Overall I think Oxfam put their cause over to the reader more successfully than The Salvation Army. ...read more.

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