The boat that rocked for charity

The boat that rocked for charity

Guest Bloggers | 20 February 2018

Once word got out about our legacy campaign, the list of 60s icons getting on board, including the likes of Twiggy and Ringo Starr, grew. So too did the number of people leaving gifts in wills and enquiries about legacy giving – it was our most successful awareness week ever.

When we began planning the Remember A Charity Week 2017 campaign we knew we needed a brave strategy and a bold idea. Most people don’t like talking about death or money, so getting people to talk about legacies is a challenge.

For many of our target baby boomer audience, their defining years were set in one of the most culturally influential decades in history, the 1960s. They grew up campaigning against the threat of wars, campaigned for human rights, demanded equality and changed the face of music forever.

This is the insight that led to our creative agency, Atomic London’s idea – and what became a campaign that has since been shortlisted for two #DoDifferent awards! 2017 was the 50th anniversary of the launch of Radio 1 and the closure of Radio Caroline, the pirate radio station that provided the soundtrack of our audience’s young adulthood. We couldn’t miss the opportunity to bring it back and use it to change the world once again.

So we decided to re-launch pirate radio with a new station Last Pirate FM, and use it as our platform for a week of entertaining music, content, and nostalgia to help the nation have their say about the world they’d like to pass on.




We brought original pirate DJ Emperor Rosko to be our front man on-board a replica of Radio Caroline ship, followed by a nationwide radio roadshow over five days in London, Bournemouth, Norwich, Liverpool and Edinburgh.

As the campaign gained more attention, more 60s icons got involved. Guest DJs like Twiggy, Ringo Starr, Mike McCartney, Wilko Johnson and Tony Prince gave up their time and helped make the campaign go wild.

This was a star-studded platform for the 200 member charities to have conversations with their supporters about legacy giving. At the roadshow, on the radio itself and in a whole host of other channels including social, PR, charity shops and supporter emails and direct mail.

Online content was viewed over two million times and visits to the campaign website where people could enquire about legacy giving went up by 160%. Campaign tracking also revealed that the action of leaving gifts increased from 11% in 2011 to 16% making it an unprecedented success for us.

Gifts in Wills are incredibly important to UK charities; without this income charities would have to cut services and many would simply not exist. Six out of ten life boat launches are paid for by gifts in Wills, as is over a third of Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work. Gifts in wills are also increasingly important to smaller charities.

Not only did our campaign give the charities a voice, we gave all their supporters a chance to have their say with Last Pirate FM, on the roadshow, online and on the radio.

In order to make this a reality we set up a total of five local DAB stations in as many days, something that had never been achieved before in the UK.

All charities were given the opportunity to have their voices heard on the airwaves to spread their message and love of 60s music. Songs were requested, passed on, listened to and danced to for five days of 60s rock nostalgia.

Although Last Pirate FM was only live for five days, its legacy will live on forever online, where the entire week can be listened to for free on More than 200,000 minutes of Last Pirate FM has been listened to date, and it shows no sign of slowing down.

Rob Cope is director of Remember A Charity

Last Pirate FM has been shortlisted for two #DoDifferent awards. The winners will be announced on 22/23 March 2018.


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