FUNDRAISING NEWS: Action for Blind People trebles regular giving

ANNIE KELLY

Individual donations to Action for Blind People have more than trebled over the past two years from £2.3 million to £7.3 million.

The charity attributes the upswing to a decision in March 2000 to invest £4 million in attracting new givers, which has resulted in 300,000 new first-time donors.

The best results were in persuading people to give regularly. Regular giving accounted for less than £800,000 in 1999-2000 but is expected to contribute £5.5 million in the coming financial year.

Action for Blind People has announced that it expects to generate extra net income of £20 million to £25 million over the next five years, all of which will be ploughed into service delivery and support for charitable activities.

"Our total income for 1999 was £10 million and this year we're getting pretty close to £20 million, so we've doubled the size of the organisation in two years,

said Gill Astarita, director of development at Action for Blind People.

Astarita also hit back at the recent league table printed in The Guardian that compared fundraising costs as a percentage of money donated. Using data from the book The Major Charities: An Independent Guide, Action for Blind People's costs were given as 73p for every £1 donated. "These results clearly vindicate our initial investment of £4 million which we used to generate new income and identify a range of new techniques to push forward,

she said.

The charity used cold mailings, ongoing investment in recruiting regular givers, door-to-door and face-to-face fundraising, and donor research to generate the results.

The initial investment was also used to improve supporter retention and to show donors how their support will make a difference to the lives of blind and visually impaired people.

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