RSPB appeals go online

Charity responds to supporters' requests

The RSPB is moving its fundraising appeals online, in response to requests from supporters for e-communications.

Appeals have previously been sent out as printed direct mail campaigns, but the organisation said it was keen to develop its digital communications strategy and explore more flexible and cost-effective fundraising solutions.

The first online appeal, which last week asked for donations to help fund conservation work around Titchwell Marsh in Norfolk, was sent to members who had specifically requested digital appeals letters, as well as a targeted selection of non-members who live in the area. It took the form of a narrative about the decline of the Titchwell nature reserve.

"Our first online appeals campaign has a tailored ‘ask'," a spokesman for the charity said. "If you can establish a connection with the person from whom you're asking for a donation, and do this through the medium they want, you are likely to get a more positive response."

The organisation said it had no plans to stop producing its e-newsletters, despite recent claims by Thomas Gensemer, the digital strategist behind Barack Obama's US election campaign, that they were a waste of time (Third Sector Online, 20 February)

"It is impossible to cover information about all our work in one communication," the RSPB spokesman said. "The online appeals letter serves a specific purpose and will continue to be highly targeted in its focus, while the newsletter is sent to all of our subscribers."

The RSPB has just under 300,000 subscribers to its e-newsletter, and has seen a 25 per cent increase in subscriptions to its e-newsletter since September.

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