Fundraising News: Web adds clout to Darfur appeal

Joe Gill

The Darfur emergency aid appeal has raised £20m since its launch a month ago, with £1.6m raised online - the most ever for a Disasters Emergency Committee appeal.

The DEC appeal is expected to run until April 2005, with money being distributed to member charities bringing relief to Darfur refugees in Sudan and Chad.

A second tranche of funding will be distributed at the end of the nine-month appeal from sources including Gift Aid. Those funds will support people who abandoned their farms without planting next year's crops because of attacks by armed militia.

Approximately 1 million people have had to flee their homes in the vast state in eastern Sudan, where fighting between state-backed militias and armed rebels has been going on for more than a year.

The initial media campaign received massive coverage on TV news, with the telephone donation line bringing in the largest chunk of donations through the BBC and ITV. The highest click-through has been on the BBC website, and the DEC banner also appeared on major portals including AOL, Yahoo!, MSN and Google.

Some 120 commercial radio stations have given airtime to the appeal ad that features Joanna Lumley.

Continuous media coverage of the Darfur crisis has played a central role in the campaign's success, said DEC chief executive Brendan Gormley. "It will tail off very quickly once the media move on. Because the story is still running we are getting considerable interest, and money going to us directly and to member organisations."

He added: "A lot of our traditional donors are older and not web literate, so we are very pleased to be starting to bring in a new type of donor through the internet."

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