Campaign: RAF fund reaches out to ex-servicemen in need

Heavily backed by press and radio during its latest campaign, The RAF Benevolent Fund had its fair share of success in reaching out to its unsuspecting beneficiaries.

Campaign Reaching Out
Client The RAF Benevolent Fund
PR team In-house
Timescale June 2006-September  2006
Budget £100,000

Around 30,000 former servicemen and women and their dependants are helped by the RAF Benevolent Fund each year, but research by the charity found that around 2.1 million people in the UK had ‘an RAF background'.

Of particular concern were members of the ‘post-WW2 generation', now in their 50s and 60s.

To raise awareness of the charity among those with an RAF connection and encourage those in financial need to call a free phone number for further information and advice.

Strategy and Plan
The charity mounted a joint PR, advertising and direct marketing campaign with a particular focus on 50 to 60-year-olds. Instead of a blanket media push the charity decided to concentrate on the regions,including Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire, where marketing data highlighted a high prevalence of ex-servicemen in need.

The national media target was restricted to Classic Gold Radio and Saga magazine and radio.

The first press release was sent out on 28 June with regional advertising activity timed to coincide with summer air shows being held locally, where marketing and advertising also took place.

As people contacted the charity in response to the campaign, some were offered as case studies to the media.

Half-way through the campaign, 14 servicemen were killed when their Nimrod MR2 crashed in Afghanistan. The fund's PR manager, John Pearce, said a decision was taken not to link the campaign with this event, ‘as our main concern is to help those in need'.

Measurement and Evaluation
Articles about the Benevolent Fund appeared in ten regional newspapers, including the London Evening Standard and Yorkshire Post, as well as Saga magazine, and Classic Gold. Radio 4's You and Yours interviewed a former RAF serviceman helped by the fund.

Since the campaign launched, around 1,800 enquiries and donations have been made. Of these, around 700 cited regional press coverage and 377 said they had heard of the charity through radio coverage. Jack Traill, the former RAF serviceman who was interviewed on You and Yours, says the campaign has transformed his life.

He has breathing problems and was confined to his home as his treatment involves being given oxygen through a machine 16 hours a day. The charity bought him a £4,000 portable oxygen converter. Traill says: ‘I'm impressed with this campaign. It now means I can do simple things like go on holidays and travel long distances, which I couldn't have done before.'

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