As a child I often volunteered to collect donations for charities. Schools often recruited door-knockers to collect the envelopes, into which the public placed their donations.
It was an eye-opener. People would do the strangest things ranging from coming to the door in their underwear or less. Some would be indignant or passive aggressive, others were friendly and generous and they seemed genuinely glad to be philanthropic. Let's not talk about the rat-bags that couldn't seem to control their dogs.
This week the Foundation of the Blind are running their annual appeal. It reminded me of my experience of that organisation. In the early 90s I won their advertising account with my company Milk Mustache. We ran an award-winning and successful campaign to raise funds for guide dogs with the campaign line 'We see life a little differently'.
One of favourite pieces from the campaign was a poster with an embossed image of a guide dog puppy. The only ink used was for the headline. When the posters were delivered for distribution to post-offices around the country I received a distress call from the client. I drove round to their offices to see what the problem was.
"We didn't understand that there would be no printing."
"That's the idea…people have to touch the posted to 'see' the dog and experience a little of life as a person who is blind."
"But the visual had grey lines…"
"I used grey marker to get the idea across."
"We may have to reprint - or shelve them altogether - we don't have much time."
Another voice piped up. "I rather like it," it was a member of the marketing team who was blind herself, "It's the first poster I have ever seen."
Poster was distributed.
Much favourable comment and record donations.
These days door-knock campaigns have fallen from favour. I haven't even seen a single politician on the streets (other than the ubiquitous Rodney Hide who genuinely seems to be a fixture around Newmarket and Remuera where I sometimes infiltrate).
I hope the Foundation do well. I imagine charities will be hard hit by the economic maelstrom.