CAMPAIGNS: Fundraising; The age of aged enlightenment

Client: Help the Aged PR Team: In-house Campaign: Home Truths Timescale: February 1996 - 2000 Budget: 70 per cent of annual resources

Client: Help the Aged

PR Team: In-house

Campaign: Home Truths

Timescale: February 1996 - 2000

Budget: 70 per cent of annual resources



By the year 2001 there will be 2.6 million people in the UK aged over

80. Research by charities such as Help the Aged show that the vast

majority of these would prefer to stay in their own homes.



But for older people, the phrase ‘safe as houses’ does not have a

reassuring ring. Their fear of attack in the home is greatly

exaggerated, but their fear of accident in the home is very real. People

over 75 are 15 times more likely than others to have a fatal accident at

home. Half of people aged over 75 live alone, but this is often their

choice.



Objective



To raise pounds 10 million of corporate funding by the millennium, and

attract business partnerships to support independent elderly living

through installation of safety and security devices and transport

provision. Head of communications Amanda Chalmers says that the Home

Truths campaign sets out to show the positive possibilities for elderly

people living alone.



Tactics



Home Truths is Help the Aged’s first long term national campaign which

is expected to evolve as it progresses towards the millennium. The

campaign was launched to the political and business community with an

event fronted up by Thora Hird at the Reform Club on 29 February.



The agency has also commissioned research on ‘Growing Old in the

Countryside’ which has been presented at five regional conferences since

the launch.



A regional media campaign hinged on the results of a home safety pilot

scheme which has been running in Lincolnshire since the beginning of the

year, and a more recent scheme in the North West sponsored by

Littlewoods Lotteries, with individual case studies and photography fed

to the local media.



A series of fundraising events are already underway, including support

from runners in the London Marathon.



Results



According to Chalmers, around pounds 250,000 has already been raised in

terms of corporate funding.



Safety projects are currently under way in four areas and the charity is

recruiting in a fifth. The charity has attracted a number of business

partners - Littlewoods Lotteries, for example, has pitched in with a

‘Help the Aged’ scratch card and MiniBus Plus is providing support in

terms of transport facilities.Regional press and radio have picked up on

Help the Aged’s case studies, although the campaign has yet to generate

much interest in the nationals.



Verdict



As a locally pitched campaign, Home Truths has generated significant

media interest - its grass roots approach and the use of case studies to

humanise the campaign has paid dividends in terms of regional coverage.



It is increasingly hard for PR-conscious charities to differentiate

themselves in a crowded market. However, as a fundraising adviser to

other charities, Help the Aged would be expected to perform when it

comes to getting corporate bodies to part with their cash.



The pounds 250,000 raised so far is a fair result, and while Chalmers is

anxious to point out that this is a long-term effort, such an approach

may generate its own problems in terms of maintaining momentum.



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