Merlin receives almost £1.5m in pledges from legacy campaign

Medical aid charity combined telephone fundraising with direct marketing and secured a single pledge of at least £1m

Medical aid charity Merlin secured pledges of more than £1.46m last year with a single legacy campaign that combined telephone fundraising and direct marketing, a session at the Institute of Fundraising National Convention heard yesterday.

The total included a single pledge worth at least £1m, according to Kathryn Brooke, an individual giving officer at the charity, which in 2008 had a voluntary income of £7.6m.

In a three-stage campaign created with direct marketing agency Bluefrog, the charity called 800 prospective donors to ask them to look out for a legacies letter and for permission to call back after they had read it. Six hundred people agreed to take the call, and letter was sent to 10,000 prospects in total.

"The second call was a fluid, longer conversation asking open-ended questions," Brooke said. "And we received absolutely no complaints."

Danielle Atkinson, individual giving manager at Merlin, said: "A small database is no barrier to legacy income."

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