The Swedish Sea Rescue Society is a nonprofit organization that undertakes about 70 percent of the rescues at-sea in Sweden. All the life-saving vessels have voluntary crews and show up without expecting compensation. The organization receives no financial subsidies from the government and instead is totally dependent on member fees, gifts and the volunteer sea rescuers.
When the SSRS came to us, their main problem was that most boat owners believed that the Sea Rescue Society was a state-owned enterprise, just like the Coast Guard or Customs. So the most important goal for the campaign was to inform people about the non-profit status and in this way increase donations and recruit more members.
Instead of the earlier approach of proudly showing the life-saving boats in the pretty blue ocean, we chose to make use of all the drama inherent in the situation. Black-and-white photos of stormy seas. Long narrative stories. And a little glint in the eye to get far away from the bureaucratic language.
Since the campaign started in 2004, the Sea Rescue Society has more than doubled its memberships, from 27,000 to 75,000. The number of voluntary sea rescuers has increased from 1,000 to 1,700. And incoming donations have doubled from 50 to 100 million SEK.