RNLI sees increase in donations following newspaper criticism

The Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) has seen a ‘sharp increase’ in donations, despite being subject to criticism from the Mail on Sunday over the weekend.

The charity was blasted by the tabloid paper for spending a portion of its income on lifesaving work internationally, as well as in and around the UK.

But since then, it revealed to the HuffPost it has received a “sharp increase” in online donations since the publication.

The article drew attention to two specific projects, one of which teaches women swimming survival skills in Zanzibar,the other of which focuses on creches in Bangladesh, which are run by women living in at-risk communities.

Throughout Bangladesh, it is estimated around 40 children die every day from drowning. The creches are designed to prevent this by protecting the children who are normally left unsupervised while parents go out to work.

Expenditure on international projects accounts for around 2 per cent of the charity’s overall spending, but the Mail on Sunday’s article led to many members of the public claiming they would be cancelling donations to the charity for failing to spend the entirety of its income on UK operations.

However, many also pledged their support, offering to donate more as a result of the work the charity does both nationally and internationally.

A spokesperson told the HuffPost the increase in donations is “encouraging”, but also said the charity had received calls from donors either withdrawing or reducing their support.
Following the article, the charity was quick to defend its actions, explaining it is “proud” of its international work.

“It saves (mostly kids’) lives. And we haven’t kept it a secret – it’s in our annual report, on our website and in the media. We spend just 2% expenditure on this work,” a spokesperson said on its Twitter page.

The charity has recently announced a number of plans to reduce costs and earlier this month, its chief executive, Mark Dowie, said it was concentrating on becoming more efficient after £28.6m drop in resources in 2018.

“All areas of RNLI work – including our international budget – are being looked at and we are reducing costs wherever we can as part of an organisational wide programme of activity to get us back to living within our means," the charity said in a statement.

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