How Comic Relief works and our strategy

How Comic Relief works

In determining our social change strategies and the general administration of the charity, the Trustees pay due regard to the guidance of the Charity Commission, particularly in relation to public benefit. At Comic Relief we seek to spend money effectively and professionally. The money we raise is typically allocated over a two-year period through a series of funding rounds or ‘funding calls1’. Awards from these funding calls to partners last for between one and five years. We have rigorous systems to make sure it is funding projects that will make a significant difference in the UK and in some of the world’s poorest communities. While we are working to allocate money, the funds are held in carefully chosen investments, in line with our Investment approach, which can be seen on page 37. The return on these investments goes towards paying the costs of Comic Relief’s fundraising campaigns and other running costs.

Comic relief vision and strategy


Our Vision

A just world free from poverty

Our purpose

To entertain, engage and accelerate change

Our values

We are determined optimists committed to social change

Our way of working

A creative agency for social change

Our strategic goals

1. Impact

To have accelerated the social impact Comic Relief has on Poverty and injustice through funding but also via wider influencing people. 

2. Engagement and income 

To increase our income. 

3. Future fit organisation

To be recognised as a great place to work and develop. 

4. Focussed Growth 

To have reduced our impact on the environment and enhanced our social contribution in Comic Relief's day to day business conduct.



This annual report has been structured to focus on each directorate within Comic Relief. The strategic reports for Impact and Investment (where we distribute our funding and influence change), Fundraising and Partnerships (where we seek out new ways to engage and entertain and work with our partners), Digital and Innovation (where we develop our digital infrastructure and technology) and Finance and Resources (where we support the whole organisation) provide an in depth review of the year for Comic Relief.

In 2017/18 we highlighted three strategic priorities that the organisation would be focusing on for the future. Each directorate has made strides and these priorities which are described in more detail in the individual strategic reports and are summarised in the table below:

Strategic Priority Achievements

Nurture, develop and futureproof our existing brands – by making the most of our campaigns, increasing engagement and emotional connections with Comic Relief.

Diversify to bring in new sources of revenue, brand value and impact – by exploring new product offerings and ways to reach new audiences in order to increase our impact outside of our annual campaigns.

Continue to make Comic Relief an effective creative agency for social change – by aligning the organisation behind a new social change strategy, with a changed staff structure and new ways of working, to ensure Comic Relief is fit-for-purpose in a changing world.

Red Nose Day in March 2019 was presented by the most diverse line up we’ve assembled, appreciation of Red Nose Day went up and we saw better understanding of the breadth of our work.

Our year round engagement leveraged our brand at the Edinburgh fringe, World Cup netball and our Wembley Spectacular event. We secured a year round partnership with KFC and the reimagined BA safety film has supported increased giving.

We ran 10 funding calls for our new social change strategy, with 2,241 funding applications. We began our influencing work by holding a parliamentary reception engaging directly with MPs.

Our digital transformation progresses.