The RNLI has ditched its traditional Christmas appeal to launch a major direct marketing fundraising campaign – which will see it return to DRTV for the first time in a decade – as the organisation aims to tackle the “perfect storm” of increased demand and falling income.
The charity, which recently revealed it was scrapping its opt-in only regime for marketing consent to rely on legitimate interests instead, is aiming to raise £1.8m and recruit 12,000 new supporters through the appeal, which it is hoped will secure the RNLI’s long-term sustainability.
In 2018, the RNLI had a £6.3m shortfall in funds. Its legacy income fell for the first time in five years, by £8.5m, while investments dropped by around £10m and spending increased by £4.5m.
The activity will include a major direct mail and email campaign to all existing RNLI supporters and another 5.7 million households, as well as mark the charity’s return to DRTV.
It will flag up the type of work the charity needs to fund, including pontoon refurbishment on the Tower Lifeboat Station on the River Thames, lifeboat upgrades at Ilfracombe and Great Yarmouth & Gorleston Lifeboat Stations, and berth replacement at Fleetwood Lifeboat Station, although the funds raised will be unrestricted.
RNLI director of fundraising Jayne George said: “The RNLI is facing some big challenges – we’re busier than ever, people are still drowning, but our income is down – so we’re facing our own perfect storm, and we are appealing to our supporters and the public to give what they can to help us.
“We want to thank our loyal supporters – without them we would not be providing the world-class lifesaving service we are renowned for today. This campaign is about thanking them and re-engaging with them, but also trying to attract new supporters to provide ongoing, longer-term support for the RNLI. We need to invest in fundraising in order to keep with the pace of demand and ensure the future capability of our fleet and lifesavers.
“This appeal is one part of a range of activity we’re undertaking to get back to living within our means, including looking closely at our work to see where we can make efficiencies and savings. While we’re confident we can make savings, we’re also re-focusing our efforts on fundraising.”
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