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ToucanTech Top 3 Charity Marketing Campaigns

The Top 3 Charity Marketing Campaigns

Reports show that 74% of potential donors are inspired to donate after engaging with charities via digital marketing campaigns. For charities looking to build awareness and donor engagement in 2019, that means designing a marketing strategy that cuts through the noise online is more important than ever. Indeed, 75% of charities say their marketing campaigns help them raise awareness of the issues they work to improve, and 59% say their campaigns help them engage better with their communities. With social media offering new opportunities to charities, analytics tools providing more customer data than ever, and customer expectations high for their favourite charity’s digital offering, it can feel like the pressure is on for charities in 2019.

In fact, a recent survey found that 96% of surveyed European charities say that they aren’t using digital marketing to its full benefit for their organisation. Well, it’s time to turn that around, in particular with the festive season coming up. Whether you’re struggling with competition, not sure which platforms to use, or just seeing a little inspiration, Toucantech have compiled our ultimate hotlist of successful charity marketing campaigns to get your creative marketing juices flowing for the winter giving season. Let’s take a look! 


  1. Movember’s ‘Unmute - Ask Him’ Campaign 

    Back in 2017, the charity Movember, which raises awareness and funds for men’s health and mental health issues, launched their ‘Unmute - Ask Him’ campaign in the lead up to World Suicide Prevention Day. The essential idea of the campaign featured three men demonstrating how to do various stereotypically ‘male’ activities, like changing a flat tyre or fishing. However, there was more to this campaign than originally met the eye. Aware of how social media sites like Facebook and Instagram typically mute videos as they appear on users’ news feeds, the viewers were then invited to ‘unmute’ the video. When they did so, the man in the video turned out to not be explaining how to fish or change a tyre as it appeared, but in fact, when his speech could be heard, viewers understood him to have been opening up about his struggles with mental health. 

The success of this campaign lay in that it pushed users to participate by ‘unmuting’ the men in the campaign, a symbol of what they were being encouraged to do in real life: ‘unmute’ their friends by reaching out to ask about their mental health. The sharp contrast between what the video seemed to be about, and what it was actually about, made an engaging impact on viewers, and effectively conveyed a resounding message that men should ‘unmute’ by asking their friends if they’re okay. 


  1. The Dogs Trust’s ‘A Dog is For Life’ Campaign

    A campaign that has truly stood the test of time is the Dogs Trust’s ‘A Dog Is For Life, Not Just for Christmas’ slogan, which has been in use for over 40 years. This year’s heartbreaking campaign follows the tale of a dog made out of cork, which is thrown away with the rubbish after Christmas, only to turn into a real dog at this stage to highlight the mistreatment of dogs, and the true commitment being a dog owner takes. 

The success of this campaign lies in its history. Its slogan was first used back in 1978, and has since been used for Christmas campaigns that have become a trademark of this charity. The phrase has become a memorable and well-known slogan which can be reworked each year to generate new engagement whilst reinforcing the same message about responsible dog ownership. It can be used across multiple platforms, forms a catchy hashtag, and can easily be updated for the 21st century without losing its original powerful meaning. A true source of inspiration for any charity looking to build engagement long term. 

  1. Refuge’s Reversible Christmas Poems 

    Clearly, competition is tough around the festive period, so charities will need to think out-of-the-box to make sure their Christmas appeal doesn’t go unnoticed. Last year, the domestic violence charity Refuge produced a very hard-hitting and effective marketing campaign that centred around the idea of Christmas carols or poems. Designed to look like festive poems, when readers scan through the text they read as heart-warming festive carols. However, when read from the bottom upwards, the lines came together to tell a tale of domestic violence during the festive period. 

The success of this campaign lay in its creativity, since the true meaning of the poems was both surprising and shocking to readers once they discovered it. Furthermore, the idea worked effectively across multiple marketing channels, from print media like magazines, to social media, to television. This poignant campaign used a familiar idea of the Christmas poem, but subverted it powerfully to draw attention to this vital issue still facing many households in the UK. A great example of a highly innovative campaign which caused a stir due to its shocking ‘reveal’ moment. 

The festive season presents huge opportunities for charities looking to end 2019 on a high note and set a positive tone for the new year ahead. But it’s also a competitive time for the charity sector, so you’ll need to get creative to cut through the festive digital noise facing your potential donors. The key to that boost in awareness is a marketing campaign that grabs readers’ attention, has a clear message and is translatable across many different channels, as shown by the top three charity marketing campaigns selected here. Hopefully they’ll provide some inspiration for your most successful festive marketing initiative yet. Merry Marketing! 

ToucanTech is a community database software for charities and organisations to manage their data, marketing, development and online presence. Request a demo to see how we could support your charity’s services today. 


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