Direct Mail



The Ottawa Hospital Foundation – Legacy Mailing Series

It began with the reply device

The Ottawa Hospital Foundation has a mature legacy program and has regularly sent mail to its direct mail donors as a way to cultivate legacy prospects. While a traditional reply device still generated positive responses, as the years passed, these numbers were in decline. The use of broad surveys generated a greater number of responses from direct mail donors, yet weren’t as efficient in generating new legacy leads.

Good Works dreamed up a new reply device that combined the engagement aspects of a traditional survey, with an autobiographical legacy focus.

Combined, these two legacy mailings generated a 6.5% positive response rate and doubled the number of prospects added to the legacy pipeline when compared to the previous year.

"Good Works is our strategic legacy partner. They bring a tremendous amount of expertise and value to our program. They support and guide us in delivering donor-centered legacy communications that propel us to achieve our overall fundraising goals."

‐ Ingrid Gingras
Director of Integrated Marketing, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation

Good Works employs a story-based approach to legacy mailings targeted to direct mail donors. Given that 75% of gifts in wills in Canada are made by direct mail donors, it’s a key audience to cultivate.


Two stories were shared with donors—one in the spring and one in the fall.


The first story was that of Don Johnson, who’d survived colorectal cancer after undergoing a grueling chemotherapy, radiation and surgery treatment regime. And the second was the story of Peter Marshall, as told by his mother Janet. Peter had leukemia that had been treated at The Ottawa Hospital for 9 years before he died at the age of 34.


Thanks to their extraordinary experiences with The Ottawa Hospital, both Don and Janet have left a gift in their will. For Don, this gift is an extension of gratitude for the care he received. For Janet, this gift is a way to honour the memory of her son.

The key change to this mailing was to use a survey reply device, as opposed to a more commonly used standard tick box reply coupon. The survey was designed to remind donors of their own personal connection to the hospital and invited them to share their personal story. Donors were also shown the program areas where their legacy gifts could have the greatest impact, and were asked to share their thoughts and intentions about this way of giving.

Of the replies received, 3.8% were expectancies, 7% were finalizing their estate plans and 67% were warm prospects.

Like What You See?

Work With Us

Whether you’re ready to take your direct mail program to the next level, dive into the world of digital direct response, or launch the legacy giving program of your dreams, Good Works is here to help you.