26 Jan 2016

Our pick of the top charity campaigns from 2015

Top Campaigns 

How to raise awareness while inspiring people to give? That’s a challenge charities face every day.

Here at MyDonate we’ve been pondering that question. To help find some answers, we picked our top three charity campaigns of 2015 and have taken a look at the successful strategies and tactics used.

1 ‘#thedress’ by Salvation Army

By the end of February 2015 millions of people across the world had shared their opinion on the colour of a strangely lit dress – which quickly became known simply as 'the dress' or #thedress.

In March, the Salvation Army were quick to use the popularity of ‘the dress’ debate to launch a hard hitting campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse.

The charity produced an image portraying a young woman covered in bruises, wearing a white and gold version of the dress. The caption asked: “Why is it so hard to see black and blue?”

The Salvation Army campaign took social media by storm. Just a few hours after the advert was published on Twitter, the social media reach had hit more than 16 million people.

Top tip: Make a meaningful point by turning topical social media conversations into something powerful.

Check out Salvation Army at MyDonate

2 #EndangeredEmoji by WWF

In May WWF launched their first fundraising campaign on social media, the #EndangeredEmoji Twitter campaign, which prompted supporters to donate through tweeting emojis of endangered animals.

Each retweet resulted in a suggested 10p contribution, with individuals able to decide how much to donate to the effort each month.

When it comes to fundraising, giving people a simple way to donate is always a winning strategy. And by using one of the world’s biggest social platforms to highlight endangered species, WWF were able raise global awareness for the conservation as well as funds.

By July the campaign had attracted worldwide attention - from the public and celebrities - and sparked 559,000 mentions and 59,000 signups.

A key lesson was to make sure that instructions were kept clear and simple as influential Twitter users misinterpreted the mechanics of how it worked, which although led to spikes in traction - especially when actor Russell Crowe (1.8m followers) and Formula One driver Jenson Button (over 2m followers) retweeted - did little for fundraising outcomes.

The organisation was smart to change how they would normally engage on conservation topics and fundraising by adapting their language to reach a younger global audience.

Top tip: Take your campaign to social media and do something new, but keep it simple and find the right voice to hook your target audience.

Visit WWF’s MyDonate page

3 ‘The Lump’ by Cancer Research UK

Would you ignore a mysterious lump the size of an igloo growing rapidly on the high street? That’s the question posed by Cancer Research in their March video campaign, The Lump.

The advert is designed to make people stop and think. It questions whether we have a tendency of being too preoccupied to check if everything’s ok with our health.

The campaign carries an important message about early diagnosis, which is one of the greatest weapons in the fight against cancer.

"It’s easy to ignore something, especially when we’re busy," says the voiceover. "But spotting cancer could save your life.”

VoxPopMe, a UK based market research company asked a panel of 175 people how the advert made them feel.

Nearly all the respondents thought the commercial was a powerful and sobering reminder of how frequently cancer is ignored in everyday life.

A considerable number of respondents felt encouraged to further research cancer, meaning Cancer Research UK succeeded in raising awareness through the advert.

Top tip: Be creative and deliver your message by drawing a connection that people can identify with in the ordinary and familiar.

Cancer Research UK fundraise with MyDonate

There’s our roundup of the best campaigns that made a difference and raised awareness last year. Are there any campaigns that inspired you recently? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or if your charity has found the answer, tell us your story.

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