Salvation Army switches back to TV ad campaign

Fall in direct mail income prompts change of tack for welfare charity

The Salvation Army has returned to television advertising for its annual Christmas appeal after a dramatic slowdown in direct mail responses.

The charity stopped running television campaigns in 2003 and moved to direct mail because it was achieving better results.

Sarah Bryan, head of individual giving at the charity, said the decision to go back to running a television campaign was made last year.

She said the charity was struggling to expand its mailing lists because people were increasingly shopping online instead of using traditional methods such as catalogues, which had been a useful source of data in the past.

Online donor recruitment would not work for the charity, she said: "It could be a problem for us because we attract older supporters who don't use the web so much."

To save funds, the charity is using staff and volunteers to front the appeal instead of celebrities.

Two adverts of 40 and 60 seconds duration respectively will run until January, asking viewers to donate £19 to cover the cost of a bed, meal and provisions pack. Door drops and mailings will support the appeal.

"People are losing their jobs and demand is increasing," said Bryan. "We need a great response this Christmas; we are going to be needed more than ever."

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