Personalised letters that appear to have come direct from Santa can be requested by parents, family members and friends to be sent to children both in the UK and abroad, for a suggested donation of £5.
The donations could help Childline to be there for children seeking help online or by phone or could help an NSPCC practitioner to deliver two hours of telephone support to anyone with concerns about a child.
“Letter from Santa is one of our most loved products by our supporters and members of staff, which has continued to evolve over time,” said NSPCC project manager Amy Banks.
“It started out as hand-written letters which were written by volunteers and we now have eight illustrated letters that can be personalised to each child with a name, address, age, gender, best friend or family member’s name so that each letter is unique. There's no branding on it so it does look like it comes direct from Santa.
“The illustrations and the copy change every year and we evolve the way we personalise them. The more personalisation that goes in, the more complicated it gets, but it makes children think that Santa knows them very well so it makes the product a lot stronger.”
Howard Hunt Group has worked with the NSPCC for four and a half years. This is the third year it has been involved with the Letter From Santa campaign, and the second that it has printed the letters, having printed marketing materials in the first year of the partnership.
Fulfilment company Valldata hosts the NSPCC’s website and the data capture side of the operation. It puts the data into a large print-ready file which is proofed for spelling mistakes or other errors and then sent over to Howard Hunt Group, which processes the data and then begins production.
Last year the variable text was printed on top of pre-printed letterheads that were produced by Howard Hunt on a Mitsubishi TP sheet-fed litho press. But this year the full background image and text will be simultaneously digitally printed using a Xerox iGen 4 onto 140gsm uncoated paper.
Howard Hunt account director, sales, Mark Folkard said: “We started talking about the project itself back in late July and we then worked together with the fulfilment company and the NSPCC to work out a front-end schedule. That's important because there are a huge number of variables within each of the eight letters.”
The A4-sized letters are folded to A5 and inserted using Buhrs enclosing lines. Howard Hunt then completes all of the mailing in-house. The firm will send out up to 20,000 letters a day between 17 November and 15 December.
“If our orders suddenly increase then we can upscale and use our second iGen 4 to increase production. We've also got ample amounts of enclosing capability to cope with any increase,” said Folkard.
A single fundraiser started the Letter From Santa project in 1998 as a Childline product, raising £1,000 by producing hand-written letters. When the NSPCC and Childline merged into one charity in 2006 the product was brought under the NSPCC brand and it has grown year-on-year since.
Last year the charity raised £1.79m from orders of just under 300,000 letters. It is hoping to better that this year with a target of £1.9m and 320,000 letters.
To request a letter, visit www.nspcc.org.uk/santa.