RNID plans face-to-face increase

ANNIE KELLY

The RNID is to use full-scale face-to-face fundraising for the first time as part of a new strategy to attract more committed givers.

After five years in which the charity's donor base has multiplied by 14, the organisation wants to consolidate by attracting more regular givers and creating less volatile income streams.

Direct marketing will be reduced and street fundraising, which the charity has only used on a limited basis, will be increased.

"We've gone through a rapid period of growth that has seen our donor base grow from 22,000 to 320,000 over a five-year period," said Graham Kelly, the RNID's deputy director of fundraising. "This was a direct result of significant investment by the charity to pursue a large number of new donors, but now we're pulling back and looking to consolidate the work we've done."

The charity will focus on establishing closer links with individual supporters and is looking to boost its core donors from 120,000 to 145,000 over the next three years.

Direct marketing has been the mainstay of the RNID's fundraising activity for the past decade. It will now concentrate on developing more targeted communications, which will ask previous donors to switch to becoming committed givers and to start campaigning on the charity's behalf.

"Through this recruitment process we've discovered that while a lot of people seem willing to give one-off gifts to support a particular campaign, that wouldn't necessarily lead to them becoming monthly donors," said Kelly. "We need to start conveying our need for regular voluntary income and start widening our messages to strike a chord with a broader section of the public."

Consequently, techniques such as face-to-face and door-to-door fundraising will become increasingly important to the charity in the coming year.

Another strand of the new strategy will be to develop a series of planned campaigns to attract a younger audience. People in their twenties and thirties will be targeted through events-based activities, based around music.

"You have to make your cause relevant to people who don't consider deafness to be a problem," he said. "Hopefully by tapping into the lifestyles of young people more will start to think about ways they can protect their hearing and help us with our work."

Meanwhile, the RNID is seeking a new head of fundraising to replace Judi Stewart who is to become chief executive at consultancy Action Planning.

It may also recruit a new deputy director of fundraising to work with Graham Kelly. Also, Amanda Mathers has been named as head of individual giving.

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