The RNLI has handed is data-driven marketing account to Medialab, with a brief to create a new data and insight planning strategy as the charity strives to plug a predicted £45m black hole in it finances, created by the devastating impact of Covid-19.
Medialab will work with RNLI to promote all of its services and initiatives, in an effort to enhance awareness, relevance and engagement, with the ultimate aim of creating higher advocacy and sustainable income streams.
The agency will look after all media responsibilities with immediate effect, as part of a substantial expansion of supporter acquisition activities across digital and traditional media channels. The appointment follows a comprehensive review process, involving a number of agencies.
The RNLI, whose crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,200 lives since inception in 1824, will collaborate with Medialab to create a data and insight planning partnership, that is designed to support the diversification and strengthening of RNLI membership.
RNLI director of fundraising, marketing and media Jayne George said: “The reason I’m so excited to begin this new partnership with Medialab is because I’m confident our work with them will enable us to reach even more people, making them aware of our vital lifesaving service and encouraging them to support us in our efforts to save every one.
“We need the public’s support now more than ever and as data driven fundraising experts, Medialab are perfectly placed to help us deliver upon our targets and goals leading up to our 200th birthday in 2024.”
Medialab managing director and co-founder Alex Kirk added: “It is a privilege to be selected by the RNLI as their partner for growth at such an important moment for their business. We are excited to join the RNLI and embark on a transformative partnership that is built upon data and insight.
“As we continue to grow, we are keen to do so by working with organisations who share values of collaboration and doing the right thing– the RNLI are emblematic of that and we are very proud of this new partnership.”
The move comes as Medialab is experiencing major growth spurt, with a number of senior appointments and an impressive new business record.
However, like many in the third sector, the RNLI has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Back in April, it was revealed that 30% of the charity’s 1,767-strong workforce had been furloughed and chief executive Mark Dowie had taken a 50% pay cut, reducing his annual salary to £80,000, in a bid to stem the impact of the pandemic.
With the RNLI also forced to close its shops and stop all face-to-face, community and event fundraising as a result of the social distancing restrictions, it was estimated that the measures would cost the charity £45m in income.
And with more and more Brits choosing a staycation, the charity has faced a greater strain on its resources from people flocking to the UK beaches. The RNLI warned that only 70 of the 248 beaches it covers in all four UK nations were likely to have lifeguards in place even at the height of the summer season.
However, this “perfect storm” of increased demand and falling income has been vexing the charity for some time. Last year it ditched its traditional Christmas appeal to launch a major direct marketing fundraising campaign, which saw it return to DRTV for the first time in a decade.
In August of the same year, the RNLI had warned that the charity was facing rising demand and falling donations after its accounts for 2018 showed that income fell by £7.2m and rising costs meant the charity had £28.6m less to spend on charitable activities than in the previous year.
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