FUNDRAISING NEWS: Air service targets big donors in £10m appeal

The Air Ambulance Foundation claims £10 million is needed to keep helicopter services running for the next three years and to comply with new legislation to upgrade all old helicopters.

This is a significant increase on the target of £3.5 million by 2006, which was set in February when the charity was established (Third Sector, 19 February.

The foundation was set up to replace the defunct National Association of Air Ambulance Services.

It was designed to create a national identity for regional air ambulance charities and raise funds nationally on their behalf.

It is now launching a multi-million pound major donor campaign to kick-start the drive. The charity will target wealthy individuals as well as companies, major trusts and foundations.

"The approach will be on an individual basis and we will target those involved in aviation, horse riding, rugby and other pastimes that are likely to foster a natural interest in the air ambulance service," said Jon Scourse, executive director of the Air Ambulance Foundation.

"We are a small charity in terms of resources and we don't have a well developed donor base, so concentrating on significant gifts from a few major donors is the most cost-effective way forward."

The foundation has appointed Cascaid Consulting, which has identified more than 70 possible major donors able to make six-figure gifts, and is now working on recruitment.

The campaign will also involve significant brand-building activity.

"We will be appointing a PR agency to do publicity and brand awareness. A recent poll showed that 65 per cent of the public believed that air ambulances are funded by the state, but this is not the case," said Scourse.

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