Focus: Campaign of the week - Yacht contest to net charities £2m

Georgina Lock,

City traders are being targeted in an attempt to recruit major donors and raise £2m for several charities.

The innovative idea centres on a competition giving 128 finalists the chance to win a £3m luxury super-yacht while raising money for Unicef, the Valley Trust - a South African centre for primary healthcare and health promotion - and the Reuters Foundation, which supports journalists from developing countries. It is the brainchild of Will Hardy, a yacht broker, who founded Positive Buoyancy - a not-for-profit fundraising company for children with HIV/Aids - to run the scheme, called 128:1.

He said: "With so many different charities tugging on the heartstrings every day, I realised that a new strategy was required to raise money for HIV/Aids relief for children around the world."

By targeting mainly young men with plenty of disposable income, Hardy hopes the game will be a step up from the usual raffles and auctions and will encourage those who don't usually give to charity to take part. Entrants to the competition, which was launched yesterday, must stump up £5,000.

Up to 1,280 people can enter through the Positive Buoyancy website.

Participants place a ball back on to a picture - featuring children from the Valley Trust playing football - from which it has been digitally removed.

The 128 entrants who get the ball nearest to its original position will be flown to Monaco in May for an all-expenses-paid weekend. There they will compete in further games, the eventual winner sailing away in their own boat.

At least £2m will be raised for the charities, with 50 per cent going to Unicef, 25 per cent to the Valley Trust, 10 per cent to the Reuters Foundation and 15 per cent to charities nominated by sponsors and supporters of the competition.

The campaign budget is set out on the Positive Buoyancy website, showing where the money from the £6.4m of ticket sales will go - including the boat, the Monaco event and running costs.

Players are being targeted through a PR campaign. Reuters is a marketing supporter, promoting 128:1 through its customer newsletters, websites, a viral email to staff and on its giant LCD screen at Canary Wharf.

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