FUNDRAISING NEWS: Sight Savers goes after high-profile individuals

An international charity that combats "needless blindness" in developing countries has launched its first private appeal in a bid to raise £1 million by next year.

Sight Savers is creating an exclusive appeal that will be nurtured by the charity's board members including chairman Sir John Cole and honourary president and former prime minister John Major, who's father was blind.

The Sight Savers Private Appeal will approach the board's high-profile contacts and wealthy connections, inviting them to make a donation or sign up to become regular givers.

Jennie Meadows, director of fundraising and communications at Sight Savers, said: "It's a new area of fundraising for us and is part of our fundraising development and direct marketing programme for the next year. It's been successful for other charities and it's an avenue that we haven't explored previously."

Each potential donor may be approached in writing, in person, over the phone or by email.

The charity hopes that the network of contacts, including businesses, trusts and wealthy individuals, will expand by word of mouth.

"The best commitment you can get is on an ongoing basis so you can plan future programme spends,

said Meadows. "However, because this is a tailored and more personalised ask, the level of giving is potentially higher so a 'one-off' donation would be wonderful and we'll respect that."

The fundraising initiative will be supported by literature about what Sight Savers does, with the money going towards various projects in more than 25 countries.

The charity has hired direct marketing agency Joshua in order to take forward its UK donor recruitment and development work.

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