The touching story that doubled response

MR Wrake resizedOur challenge

2015 marked the 75th anniversary since the Battle of Britain and, as such, provided a significant opportunity to be a milestone year for support of the RAF Benevolent Fund. But the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain received only very minimal attention in the media, and didn’t generate as much as anticipated in terms of additional support for the charity, so we could leave nothing to chance when it came to helping RAF Benevolent Fund make the most of the 75th anniversary, and the opportunity to recruit new donors

RAF Benevolent Fund’s ongoing challenge is to reach those with a close affinity – those currently serving, those who have left the RAF, their friends and family – and motivate them to support its work.

The anniversary of the Battle of Britain also provided the opportunity to talk to the broader public about the RAF veterans who faced unbelievable odds and did so much to protect the freedoms we enjoy today and who, thanks to donations to the RAF Benevolent Fund, can access support when they most need it.

What we did

To ensure we optimised the value of activity around the anniversary itself (September), we developed a programme of testing different audiences and creative routes across the preceding months. Some creative executions led with nostalgic spitfire imagery, others with hard-hitting headlines themed around the debt we all owe the WW2 RAF generation. All of them centred around the story of Mr Wrake – a veteran in his 90s who shared his memories with enormous modesty and dignity. In his words, he was “just doing his job”.

Like many proud RAF veterans, Mr Wrake didn’t like the idea of asking for help. Yet all he needed was a little money for a heater. Juxtaposed with the great historical significance of the Battle of Britain, and the huge sacrifice made by so many servicemen and women for future generations, the opportunity to help was compelling.

The results

The response to this campaign far exceeded expectations. The new pack beat our existing banker – and then some – yielding double the response rate, at a gratifying 1.7%, which held firm across testing and roll-out phases. A robust plan of testing and roll-out identified the optimal combination of creative elements and targeting, made this important anniversary the fundraising success it so deserved to be.

And all sparked by one veteran’s touching story.