‘Return to School’: RABI’s breakthrough in the cost of living crisis

The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution

Last summer, RABI – which helps farming people with practical, emotional and financial support – launched the most successful campaign in its 163-year history. ‘Return to School’ achieved a breakthrough by reaching farming families caught up in the cost of living crisis, providing grants for new uniforms and equipment and access to RABI’s farming focused mental health counselling.

This high-impact initiative was the result of precision planning and rapid innovation across service delivery, finance, communications and IT teams. A new back-office system, streamlining grant processing and analysing take-up in real time, went live in just two weeks. Immediate take-up of Return to School grants was four times the amount RABI had expected. RABI’s trustees extended the budget by £500,000 to £1.5 million. The two-month campaign closed in early August and directly benefited nearly 4,000 people, a 900% increase in working farming families engaging with RABI compared with 2021. Nine out of 10 grant applicants were new to RABI; over four in five were women aged 25 to 44. Take-up of RABI’s free counselling services increased four-fold; 83% of those clients were women. Return to School had massively extended RABI’s reach as well as connecting the charity to a demographic most at need.