We look at the digital campaigns that have had a huge impact in 2020 as charities in the UK have got to grips with the ‘new normal’
Charities in 2020 have been challenged to be more digital. Many have come up with creative campaigns to maintain fundraising efforts despite the problems raised by COVID-19. From livestreaming to virtual events, from nationwide efforts to individual moments that captured the nation, 2020 has been a year of innovation for digital campaigns.
As we approach the end of the year, the most impactful digital campaigns show how the charity sector has made a difference during one of the toughest periods in modern history.
We showcase some of the very best campaigns that have used digital content to spread the word, raise awareness, and make an impact.
The National Trust teamed up with the composer James Bulley, Heritage Open Days, and the Postcode Lottery to launch DAWNS. The digital mass participation event has been one of the most innovative campaigns of 2020.
The National Trust launched the virtual musical event at dawn on 16 May 2020, to help people feel less alone during lockdown.
The charity’s virtual event spread cheer and encouraged digital fundraising efforts. The livestreaming music started at 03:43am in Scotland and encouraged everyone to enjoy nature.
“We don’t know how long we will be continuing social distancing as a nation,” said John Orna-Ornstein, Director of Culture & Engagement at the National Trust. “But whatever the situation may be on 16 May, this will be a special morning, where people across the country, whether they always notice the dawn, or never have, can feel connected to one another and be united by music as they experience sunrise together.”
NHS Charities Together has raised over £130 million and is one of 2020’s most successful charity digital fundraising campaigns. The cause has involved the entire nation and raised a spectacular amount of funding.
Their message went viral across the country, spread by word of mouth and social media. Speaking to Marketing Week, Ellie Orton, Chief Executive of NHS Charities Together, says: “Our brand was unheard of [prior to lockdown] and the sector not known by two-thirds of people in the country.”
The digital campaign launched on the same day as lockdown. From there, Captain Tom and many other individuals came forward with support.
Of the success, Orton says: “We are committed to telling the public this is where their funds are being spent, the difference they are making, the impact, what we’re doing as an organisation to support that. That constant engagement is vital.”
#CharitySoWhite started out as a rebuke of a Citizen’s Advice report. The report included stereotypes of BAME communities. Since then, the social media campaign has grown in stature and purpose. #CharitySoWhite invited people from across the sector to share experiences of racism and also highlighted unfair employment opportunities and treatment of BAME workers through its social media account on Twitter.
These difficult conversations around race have since motivated other on-purpose campaigns. #CharitySoWhite has partnered with #POCIMPACT and launched a listening campaign. Together, they hope to survey and gather more information on how BAME staff can lead and be successful in the charity sector.
The London Marathon has expanded its usual impact in 2020. The digital 2.6 Challenge launched to help charities tackle the fundraising crunch. During the virtual event, participants were challenged to fundraise while doing an activity related to the 26 miles of the race.
The digital campaign proved a huge success raising over £11 million. The event attracted nearly 4,000 charities, with everyone pitching in to plug the funding gap.
The event also showed how quickly charities could respond to crisis and how cooperation between charities could maximise impact.
JDRF, the diabetes charity, has used virtual events and digital to help sufferers manage their condition. The charity recognised that people with diabetes might be more severely impacted by COVID-19. The charity issued an e-bulletin with information for those with diabetes. The bulletin posts information on how COVID-19 may impact people with diabetes.
Looking ahead, the charity is hoping to use digital tools and events to reshape diabetes service delivery. For Karen Addington, CEO of JDRF, technology is key to enhancing impact.
“The changes [virtual clinics] we are seeing could, long-term, mean life with type 1 diabetes involving less travel to appointments, easier fits around work, childcare, care of older family members and other commitments. Perhaps technology could do at least some of our travelling for us and enable our clinicians to find ways to help many people manage type 1 diabetes effectively without being in the same room.”
In 2020, Shelter has gone even further to increase reach. Offering a free, virtual concert, the charity highlights the plight of those less fortunate and is bringing cheer to audiences. Broadcast live, people can tune in over social media to sing popular yuletide carols.
Shelter has also used big data again to get the message out in 2020. The charity has released more statistics online to show how important their work is. Over Instagram, the charity reports that over 4,000 people sleep rough every night, with millions more at risk.