NSPCC: the Cen­te­nary Appeal, set­ting the gold stan­dard in major cam­paign fundrais­ing, from 1984

Exhibited by
June 20, 2010
Medium of Communication
Press advertising
Target Audience
Awareness, social change campaign, volunteering
Type of Charity
Children, youth and family
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance

SOFII’s view

There are few really transformational moments in fundraising history and this exhibit sets out to capture one of them. Mostly, fundraising evolves, often quite slowly though with occasional sparks of innovation and inspiration that quicken the pace for a while. The NSPCC’s Centenary Appeal campaign in 1984 propelled fundraising practice in the UK and Europe forward in one giant leap. There had, of course, been capital campaigns on a similar scale in other parts of the world, but in Britain this audacious initiative transformed the thinking and practice of a generation. It showed fundraisers that, given the right combination of foresight, courage, professional planning and commitment to a great cause, almost anything might be possible.

Creator / originator

Giles Pegram and Redmond Mullin.

Summary / objectives

To transform the fundraising prospects of a major British charity that was, at that time, punching well below its weight in terms of fundraising, publicity and ambition. To raise funds to set up a nationwide network of professional child protection teams across the UK. To build pride and expectation in the network of NSPCC professional and volunteer fundraisers so that the fundraising activity would become central to the organisation and its future. To ensure that never again would the NSPCC be restricted in its operations because it could not find the funds it needs.


Because of its seminal impact on a generation of British fundraisers this exhibit describes one of the most significant events in the history of fundraising in the UK. It should be read in conjunction with the two-part interview now on SOFII with Giles Pegram and Redmond Mullin, the appeal’s architects, The gold standard in fundraising success. Part 1: laying the foundations and Part 2: exceeding expectations.

Special characteristics

Risk-taking, advance planning, formulating a strategy, building a committee structure, press and other media campaigns, private and public phase fundraising, event fundraising, managing volunteers. This single campaign embodies best practice in virtually every area of fundraising activity.

Influence / impact

This was the first time in Britain that a public charity had ever mounted a capital campaign of this scale and reach. Because of this the impact of the NSPCC Centenary Appeal was huge. It led to many copycat campaigns, though few appreciated the detailed planning and commitment necessary to create a similar success.


The campaign raised more than £15 million against a target of £12 million – at the time the largest target ever set by a British charity for a major public campaign.


It is instructive and educational on very many fronts, as well as being an important milestone in the fundraising history of Britain.

If you have additional information on this feature please contact Carolina.