VSO selects marketing chief to boost income

LONDON - Voluntary Service Overseas, the international development charity, has hired a marketing chief to increase fundraising income by 50%.

The organisation has recruited Debbie Ramsay, a client services director at direct marketing agency EHS Brann, as its director of fundraising. It has also enlisted strategic support with the appointment of Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw to help meet its ambitious income generation target.

Ramsay joins at a competitive time for the fundraising sector, as many aid-related charities work to fund relief programmes in the wake of the Iraq war and a series of natural disasters in Africa.

Ethiopia is facing its worst famine for several years and many charities aim to alleviate poor sanitation and disease as the reconstruction of Iraq continues.

Kitcatt Nohr was appointed to VSO's fundraising account after a pitch process that included incumbent, Whitewater, WWAV Rapp Collins and Watson Philips Norman. The agency already handles VSO's brand and volunteer advertising following its appointment last September, and the latest win marks the first time that the assignments have both been handled by a single DM shop.

The fundraising account, worth a seven-figure sum, is increasing to take account of VSO's inflated targets. The charity's goals are to broaden its supporter base, create what it calls "a coherent donor journey" that maximises lifetime value, and to integrate the fundraising communications with its brand and volunteer recruitment work.

VSO was formed in 1958 and has matched 30,000 volunteers with communities worldwide to tackle a range of social and economic problems. Volunteers are currently working in 40 countries on projects ranging from improving community environments to promoting health and social wellbeing.

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