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Business Charity Awards: Affinity marketing - Winner: Coventry Building Society and the Royal British Legion

Awarded for the use of a company's products or services to help a charity provide benefits to its donors, beneficiaries or members

Coventry Building Society and the Royal British Legion
Coventry Building Society and the Royal British Legion

FINALISTS
NFU Mutual and Garden Organic
Virgin Trains and Clic Sargent

Coventry Building Society and the Royal British Legion

Coventry Building Society's affinity partnership with the Royal British Legion, which began in 2008, has raised a total of £3.4m for the charity and boosted the society's standing with its savers.

The Coventry sells savings products under the banner Poppy Bond and makes a donation to the Royal British Legion equivalent to a percentage of the deposits.

The society benefits in turn through its link with a hugely popular charity appeal that enables it to reach savers with whom it does not have an existing relationship.

The partnership, which began with the introduction of a Poppy Bond in October 2008, expanded in November 2010 with the launch of two fixed-rate savings bonds.

Last year, the poppy bonds were marketed through full-page adverts in the national press and by a 'pay-per-click' scheme on internet search engines and money comparison sites such as Moneysupermarket.com and Moneyfacts.co.uk. They were promoted on the websites of both the Coventry Building Society and the British Royal Legion, and an email marketing campaign targeted the building society's customer base.

The campaign was funded with £250,000 by the Coventry and ran for four weeks from 29 October 2010. During this 'remembrance' period, more than 20,000 accounts were opened with the Coventry, which resulted in a donation to the legion of more than £500,000. According to the building society, its existing members "felt very strongly that the Coventry was demonstrating values that are not prevalent elsewhere in financial services". It says its staff were "extremely motivated" by the relationship with the charity.

The Coventry was particularly satisfied with the savings bonds, which succeeded at a time when the market for savings products was very competitive because interest rates were very low. Meanwhile, the charity was pleased because it was able to develop a source of revenue that was independent of its membership, which has been falling.

The eight-strong Coventry team that worked with the legion on the scheme comprised savings bond specialists and a small marketing and public relations team. The products were serviced by staff in branches of the Coventry and the former Stroud & Swindon Building Society (with which the Coventry merged in September 2010), as well as call centres. Four staff from the Royal British Legion worked on the scheme.

Amanda McLean, former chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising and one of the judges of the award, said: "This partnership was an all-round win in that not only did it benefit the charity, but it also did not pretend to be purely altruistic."

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