We asked 3 digital fundraising experts what they consider to be the most influential digital campaign of the last 12 months, and why. Here’s what they said:
Rebecca Curtiss-Moss, freelance charity communications specialist:
With a simple Twitter poll, fundraising consultant John Thompson kicked off one of the biggest – and my personal favourite – digital fundraising campaigns of 2016. The premise of #FirstFiver was simple: give the first polymer £5 note you receive to charity. Charities and umbrella sector organisations like the Institute of Fundraising quickly picked up on the idea, coining (pun fully intended) and very much championing the #FirstFiver hashtag.
While charities newsjacking hashtags is no new concept, what made #FirstFiver so successful was its simplicity; it's low cost (for both charities and donors); and the novelty factor. All it took for charities to get involved was a Twitter account! This accessibility saw a lot of small charities get involved in the campaign, which was fantastic to see. According to Charities Aid Foundation, this hashtag has raised over £12.5m for charities, and – nine months on – is still going!
It's also sparked copycat campaigns, like #PoundForPound, which the IoF believes could raise even more than its parent campaign for UK charities. It's not gone viral yet, but I'll be interested to see if it gains more traction in the coming months, particularly as we near October, when the old pound coin ceases to be legal tender. Certainly one to watch!
Marie-Rose Delauzun, digital communications manager, Advancement, London Business School
I recently attended a conference on digital fundraising hosted by Hubbub, and was incredibly impressed to hear about RNLI’s digital Tick the Box campaign to promote their opt-in strategy. Having read their 2016 blog in The Fundraiser on their approach to GDPR, and seen them hailed as bold for being among the first to move to an opt-in approach, I imagine I wasn’t alone in watching with interest how they pulled it off from a communications perspective.
The RNLI’s calculations of a loss of up to £35m in revenue put enormous pressure on their ability to communicate the value of staying in touch, so they stripped back and focused solely on the call to action of ticking the opt-in box. They paused all their fundraising activity while they focused on this message, and created a really powerful short video, along with promoted social media posts which linked their life-saving work with donor support.
The RNLI’s Tick the Box campaign was so effective, they found themselves receiving unsolicited donations from supporters who had responded well to their simple messaging. A great example of how investing time in making a simple and persuasive case for support can bring in donations and engagement without even a financial ask.
Alex Betti, head of digital at the MS Society:
Mencap is doing a brilliant job with their Here I Am campaign. They’re challenging the silence surrounding learning disabilities and bringing them to the forefront with a powerful and intriguing digital campaign and advertising. It’s bold in imagery, tone of voice and content, and has seamlessly linked together awareness raising with campaigning and fundraising.
The Understand Me aspect of the campaign also helps break down barriers by giving people the opportunity to ask someone living with a learning disability about their experiences. It’s cleverly coordinated, and through various mediums of storytelling – imagery, video and social media – gives all those living with a learning disability a voice and the opportunity to be heard.
At the MS Society, we’re looking to replicate this same sense of community, storytelling and fun way to fundraise, and we’ve recently launched a community fundraising campaign called Kiss Goodbye to MS, which aims to raise awareness and enough funds for research to one day stop multiple sclerosis (MS). While the campaign is still in its early phase, it’s has had great results. We’ve surpassed our fundraising expectations and have been successfully engaging our target audiences – we’re very optimistic for its success.