Hey buddy, it's a case study


Client: The Circus Project

The Circus Project empowers homeless and traditionally underserved youth and young adults—physically, mentally, and emotionally—through the development of innovative, skilled circus productions. In the fall of 2017, I worked with Managing Director Kirsten Collins on the organization’s first-ever direct mail appeal. 

What they needed

Historically, the Circus Project relied on philanthropic support from solid foundation partners, a modest cohort of devoted patrons, and inclusion in the Willamette Week’s Give!Guide. Heading into fall 2017, they were focused on ramping up their individual giving program with a dynamite mail appeal.

“For the Circus Project’s first mail appeal I knew we needed an expert to get our message right. Working with Breesa saved me time and paid off in increased donations.”


Six weeks: We held our first meeting on September 7 and, four feedback loops later, finalized text on October 17.

“Breesa is super organized and met or beat every deadline. Her clear directions and handy reminders kept the project moving along.”


We began by defining the audience segments and the goals for the fall appeal. 

We identified a few potential stories to tell before narrowing it down to one: a first-person testimonial from a former program participant and current board member, Nelda. 

I then drafted a workable timeline for appeal production, including vital steps like board member outreach, email reminders, data pull requirements, and sufficient feedback loops so that all stakeholders were able to offer feedback at critical steps.

I interviewed Nelda and organized her story into a cohesive, joyful narrative, highlighting her personal transformation from student to leader.

“Breesa is a joy to work with. She brings the perfect mix of idealism, enthusiasm, and brass tacks. She got straight to the heart of our mission, and broke the project down into very clear to-dos.” 


Letters sent: 1,353
Gifts received: 66
Money raised: $19,909
Average gift size: $302