Newspaper charity appeals but minimal coverage on their Web sites

Christmas stockings with floral decorations. Photo: Howard Lake
Christmas stockings with floral decorations. Photo: Howard Lake

National newspapers have launched their seasonal charity appeals. But you would only know that if you bought the paper versions. UK Fundraising reads the papers and finds they aren’t encouraging online readers to give.

Online newspapers ignore Christmas appeals

National newspapers have launched their seasonal charity appeals. But you would only know that if you bought the paper versions. UK Fundraising curls up with the online newspapers and finds they aren’t encouraging readers to give.

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The Times

The Times is encouraging its readers to spread their generosity around the world. It has selected three different charities working on three different continents as the partners in its 1998 Christmas appeal:

The paper version includes a half-page promotion, and this is backed up with an editorial comment further on in the paper. On the Times’ Web site, however, there is little evidence of the appeal. The Comment text is there, but there is no indication of how to support the appeal. Not only is there no online donation facility, but there is not even an address or telephone number.

The Observer

The Observer’s appeal for the Children’s Trust is nowhere to be found on its Web site. Nor is there any evidence of the Independent’s Christmas Appeal for Age Concern, St Christopher’s Hospice, and Action on Elder Abuse.

The Guardian

The Guardian is appealing on behalf of up to eight charities, including WaterAid, Family Service Units, and the Soil Association. Some of the appeal income will be distributed to the winning charities of the Guardian Jerwood Award.

Again, there is no mention of the Web site on the paper’s cut-out donation form. Which is appropriate because there was no sign on the Guardian Web site of the Christmas appeal.

The Daily Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph is the only newspaper that incorporates its Christmas appeal on its Web site, the Electronic Telegraph. Indeed, it stands head and shoulders above the rest, and earns its description of itself as the “pioneering online newspaper.”: it has been featuring the newspaper’s Christmas charity appeals since at least 1995.

You can read about the 1994 Christmas Appeal for Save the Children which raised £155,000.

Incidentally, the appeal address is still listed. You can read about the 1995 Christmas Appeal on behalf of Care, Feed the Children, Serious Road Trip and Unicef, for their work in former Yugoslavia.

The 1996 Christmas Appeal raised money for Médecins Sans Frontiéres, the British Red Cross and Helen House children’s hospice, and the 1997 Christmas Appeal was held in aid of Dr Graham’s Homes at Kalimpong, India, Save the Children Fund, and CLIC (Cancer and Leukaemia in Children).

1997 also saw the Telegraph Diana Memorial Fund appeal for various anti-landmine charities.

The Electronic Telegraph is also noticably scrupulous about reporting back on each year’s appeal’s results and success. You can find out how well each appeal did over the last four years, with examples of how the money was used.

This year’s Daily Telegraph Christmas appeal is in aid of the British Limbless Ex-Service Men’s Association, National Autistic Society, and Mother Teresa Association. Each charity is featured in a separate article on the site, each of which includes information on how and where to give.

If there is one area in which the Electronic Telegraph could improve, it is by offering the facility to donate online. At the very least they could link in to the Charities Aid Foundation’s CharityCard site.