More than 500,000 supporters have signed up to be opted in to contact from the RNLI, the charity has said.
The RNLI became the first major charity to say it would only contact supporters who had opted in, and has had an opt-in only approach since last January. Other major charities such as Cancer Research UK and British Red Cross have also announced plans to take a similar approach.
Prior to opt-in the RNLI had a database of two million supporters, of whom 900,000 were actively engaged with the charity. It expected that only around a quarter would opt in, but the actual figure has proved to be around half.
In addition, more than 100,000 new supporters who were not previously engaged with RNLI have also opted in.
RNLI anticipated that the move to opt-in would cost it £36m in the first five years following the switch. It is now reviewing this figure after its early campaigns were far more successful than expected, although it said it had seen a significant fall in donations in 2016, in its most recent accounts.
Anjie Rook, director of business services and support at the RNLI, said: “When we made the decision to switch to an opt-in style of communications, we knew it was the right thing to do. Having the trust of our supporters is absolutely vital to us and we’ll do everything we can to protect and maintain that trust.”
She said that fundraising from opt-in only lists was much more effective than the charity had estimated.
“Our summer appeal in 2016 was the first appeal that went out to our newly opted-in supporter database,” she said. “It far exceeded our expectations, raising £545,000 with a response rate of 32 per cent compared to a target of raising £200,000 and a response rate of 10 per cent.
“Also, our 2017 Christmas appeal has exceeded its income target by almost £300,000.”