The Art Fund wins prestigious fundraising award

  • 8 July 2008

The Art Fund, the UK's leading independent art charity, last night won the prestigious Institute of Fundraising National Award for 'Best use of direct mail' for its campaign to save Turner's Blue Rigi for Tate Britain - its first fundraising appeal mailing.

The campaign was launched at the end of January 2007 with a deadline of 20 March to raise £2.45 million towards a total price of £4.95 million. The Art Fund mailing was sent to just over 120,000 recipients, including all its 80,000 members and Tate members. The letter asked for a donation of £84 - the modern day equivalent of the 80 guineas that was originally paid for the painting in 1842.

The Art Fund’s appeal, including its additional online activity, raised more than £564,000 in just five weeks. Donations were received from all over the UK as well as contributions from as far away as Singapore, United States, Japan, Russia and Australia. One eight-year-old boy emptied his piggy bank of several months’ worth of money to contribute to the appeal - donating £9.20.

The final amount of £4.95 million needed to purchase the painting was successfully raised thanks to donations from the public, as well as £2 million from Tate; £1.87 million from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and The Art Fund’s own grant of £500,000.

David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund, said: “This was an enormously successful appeal. Not only did it secure this outstanding painting for everyone to enjoy, but it was a clear demonstration of the public’s love of art and commitment to saving our heritage. I’m delighted that this important campaign has been recognised by this prestigious award.”

The fundraising pack was conceptualised and created by charity specialists Blue Frog. The agency and charity had just four weeks to create and mail the pack in order to give donors enough time to reply before the fundraising deadline of 20 March.


Notes to editors:
1. The Art Fund is the UK’s leading independent art charity. It offers grants to help UK museums and galleries enrich their collections; campaigns on behalf of museums and their visitors; and promotes the enjoyment of art.
2. It is entirely funded from public donations and has 80,000 members. Since 1903 the charity has helped museums and galleries all over the UK secure 860,000 works of art for their collections.
3. Recent achievements include: helping secure Anthony d’Offay’s collection, ARTIST ROOMS, for Tate and National Galleries of Scotland in February 2008 with a grant of £1million; putting together a unique funding package to ensure Dumfries House in Ayrshire and its contents were secured intact for the nation in July 2007; and running the ‘Buy a Brushstroke’ public appeal which raised over £550,000 to keep Turner’s Blue Rigi watercolour in the UK.
4. For more information contact the Press Office on 020 7225 4888 or visit