Seven inspiring examples of charity / non-profit marketing campaigns

In advance of our The Digitals awards night on June 27th, I thought I’d present some of the shortlisted entries from the charity and non-profit category. 

There’s a wide range of campaigns here, covering mobile, content marketing, video, email and social media. 

Here are seven of the best… 

American Red Cross: Hurricane Sandy app

Last October, Hurricane Sandy caused widespread damage across the US east coast. This app, created by 3 Sided Cube for the American Red Cross provided a platform for the organisation to communicate with people in a new way. 

It provided real-time information which enabled users to track the storm, find the nearest shelter and contact loved ones. It also offered valuable advice on protecting homes before disaster stikes. 

The app was a success, with: 

  • 900% increase in engagement with Red Cross preparedness information compared with previous methods .
  • 750,000 downloads.
  • 52m page views.
  • 15m visits.
  • 11m alerts sent.

Department of Health: The Awkward Conversations Project

This project, carried out by M4C, MEC, Channel Flip and the DoH aimed to engage a youth audience on important but awkward health issues.

The Department of Health co-created content with ten talented YouTube video bloggers in a campaign that reached millions, helping teenagers by giving them the confidence to talk about embarrassing or difficult issues that can be damaging to their health.

The results:

  • The ten videos were watched almost 4m times (3,974,897 views).
  • They achieved 135,707 YouTube likes, only 1,740 dislikes (vs. YouTube projection of 9,945 dislikes)
  • A 7.4% click-through-rate for a pre-roll campaign (vs. 1.5% YouTube benchmark).
  • All videos featured in the top 50 most liked videos on YouTube on the day of upload.

38 degrees: Save Our NHS

This campaign, by Other for 38 degrees had a simple challenge: create a targeted email campaign to raise £60,000 to fund a high-profile poster campaign. On a budget of £5,000. In three days.

In February 2012, 38 degrees wanted to make the government’s proposed changes to the NHS a major issue during the London mayoral elections.

They aimed to do this with a high-profile poster campaign across the capital, but funding it was going to be expensive.

38 Degrees supporters were sent an email containing the proposed creative work, in effect asking them to approve it. 

The results were impressive, with the initial £60,000 target met in just six hours… 

Prostate Cancer UK Football League campaign

This was a content marketing campaign, run by Public Zone, which used Prostate Cancer UK’s status as Football League charity partner to raise awareness of the disease amongst football fans.

Public Zone built a network of fans representing all 72 Football League clubs, finding the key influencers for each, those who have built audiences around blogs, Twitter, forums etc. 

  • 167% traffic increase to the Prostate Cancer UK website in week one. 
  • 92% were new users. 
  • Nine of the top 10 referral sites were football sites running campaign activity. 
  • Year-on-year traffic to the website is up more than 70%.

charity: water

This was an email marketing campaign carried out by Responsys, which showed the value of personalisation in email marketing. 

The charity’s email strategy for this campaign was changed from several mass email blasts to regular highly personalized emails dedicated to educating, inspiring and engaging subscribers.

Subscribers were targeted based on their levels of engagement with the emails and progress toward their fundraising goals. 

The results:

  • charity: water exceeded its fundraising goal and will help over 26,000 people in Rwanda get clean water.
  • Open rates were as high as 57% compared to just 25% for previous campaigns.
  • More than $2m was raised, $300,000 more than their original goal, making the 2012 September Campaign charity: water’s most successful ever.

WaterAid: The Big Dig

This campaign, by The Good Agency, used Instagram to help raise £2.5m and bring clean water to 134,000 people in Malawi.

Supporters could follow the progress of the Big Dig appeal in real time, including being there when the borehole was dug and clean water arrived. The Big Dig blog was central to the appeal. 

The results: 

  • Digital channels raised £75,000 directly, but also raised awareness and contributed indirecly to the whole campaign.
  • 26,654 unique users visited the Big Dig blog.
  • The Big Dig reached over 1,500,000 Twitter accounts.

END7: How to shock a celebrity

This campaign, created by Wunderman London, was based on the premise that people often turn away from charity ads that show morbid footage.

To get around this, footage of the effects of tropical diseases was shown to celebrities and their genuine reactions were filmed, thereby challenging viewers to watch what the celebrities watched.

The results:

  • Within a week the video received over 300,000 views (200,000 for the US version and 100,000 for the UK version). It was ranked #5 on YouTube’s list of ‘Most Popular on the Web’.
  • Globally viewers have watched more than 400,000 minutes of the video with 75% of viewers watching more than two minutes, proving people were not clicking on and off.
  • Most importantly, within a week the video generated £60,000 of donations (an average of 20p per view). This can treat and protect 120,000 children from all seven diseases for a year.
  • This is a remarkable ROI considering the video cost £20,000 to produce. 

(NB: There are a couple of shortlisted entries not mentioned here. Not because they aren’t as good, just that they aren’t, strictly speaking, campaigns.)

Want to see more? 

Head to The Digitals site and view The Yearbook now for new content that stands out in marketing and ecommerce, we’ll be updating it every day as we approach this year’s massive awards on June 27th. 

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Seven inspiring examples of charity / non-profit marketing campaigns

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