RNLI launches new and bolder 'Perfect Storm' Christmas fundraising appeal

13 Nov 2019 News

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution launches a new Christmas fundraising appeal this week, which will go out to 5.7 million households on top of current supporter lists, and has a "much bolder" ask than previous campaigns.

The “Perfect Storm" appeal describes the challenging circumstances at the lifeboat rescue charity, which is facing falling income at the same time as increased demand on services.

Jayne George, director of fundraising at RNLI, 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.”

The appeal will run until Christmas, replacing its usual appeal. It aims to raise £1.8m in donations, bring in 12,000 new supporters and re-engage 8,000 of its existing supporters.

Mail-out to additional 5.7 million

The appeal includes a mail-out of letters and emails to RNLI's half a million supporters, plus 5.7 million additional UK and Irish households.

In October, RNLI said it would be dropping its opt-in only communication policy and adopting legitimate interest as a means to contact other interested parties.

The opt-in policy, which the charity took on in 2015 in anticipation of GDPR, saw its supporter base fall from 2 million to 500,000 in 2018.

DRTV advertising for first time in 10 years

The Perfect Storm appeal will also use TV advertising, for the first time in over a decade, which will feature a member of RNLI crew.

George said: “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.”

Perfect Storm appeal responds to £6.3m shortfall

This appeal aims to address the £6.3m shortfall in funds at RNLI in 2018; with legacies down for the first time in five years, by £8.5m.

Investments were also down £10m because of a tough economy, and yet spending was up by £4.5m.

George said: “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 refocusing our efforts on fundraising.”

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