Donations rise by 40% in one year at lung charity

Donations from direct mail fundraising to the British Lung Foundation (BLF) have risen by nearly 40% in one year to over £254,000, beating last year’s income by £71,000.

Return on investment for the Direct Marketing and Donor Development team has doubled from 3:1 to 6:1 on appeals and raffles to warm donors. Average response rates have risen from 8.3% to 14.15 % on appeals to warm donors. The team have also doubled cold mailing response rates and raised reciprocal mailing response rates by one third.

BLF’s Direct Marketing and Donor Development Manager, Richard Yorke, said: “The success we have had over the last year is due to time spent thinking creatively about every aspect of our direct marketing programme and ensuring that we are constantly challenging ourselves to improve.”


One of the most successful appeals was an April 2003 warm appeal which focused on Pulmonary Rehabilitation. The BLF has been campaigning for this service to be made widely available across the UK. Pulmonary rehabilitation programmes improve the health and confidence of people with lung illness. The April appeal tied in with the campaigning work being undertaken.

It included interviews with patients currently on rehab programmes and respiratory consultants who have supported the BLF’s campaign. Almost double the amount of income was received compared to the April 2002 warm appeal.

BLF attribute this increase in performance over the last year is due to “strong in-house creative ideas being produced, increasingly sophisticated targeting and a program of testing that has seen results increase dramatically.”

Next year the BLF will undertake its largest ever acquisition mailing program. The team have set the target of nearly doubling the size of their warm donor base to 30,000. It will also see the charity’s largest telemarketing campaign to date to convert cash donors to committed giving with a target of 1,000 new regular givers.

These activities form part of the British Lung Foundation’s plans to increase annual income from individuals by £700,000 by 2006.