FUNDRAISING NEWS: Firefighter fund appeals to fill £1m income drop

The Fire Services National Benevolent Fund is launching its first public fundraising appeal in an attempt to reverse a projected £1 million drop in income over the past six months.

The charity currently relies almost exclusively on support from firefighters and their families. Its first public fundraising campaign aims to broaden its appeal to other donor groups by communicating the range of services that the fund runs for the firefighting community.

It is putting together a three-year strategic plan which it hopes will increase revenue by at least £1 million a year and create greater brand recognition within the public sphere. It also wants to attract a broad range of new donors to help develop the organisation into one of the UK's top 100 charities.

"Most people have never heard of us and the general public perception of benevolent funds is very low, so we've got a big challenge ahead," said Chris Burgess, director of business development.

The charity hopes to generate around £100,000 through this initial campaign to help boost its declining funds. It attributes the drop in income to the recent industrial action, which resulted in a 75 per cent decrease in fundraising support from the firefighting community.

The charity also believes that it lost around £250,000 after the 11 September attacks, as fire stations turned their attention to fundraising for their New York colleagues.

Christmas was a particularly bad time for the fund, which usually pulls in considerable income from a programme of seasonal events organised by firefighting units. This year, the charity saw the number of events drop from 200 to around 40.

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