Campaigns: Voluntary sector - Birthday bash for Transformation Trust

Campaign: The Transformation Trust's first birthday
Client: The Transformation Trust
PR team: Volunteers and core staff
Timescale: MayAugust 2010
Budget: Only commissioned photography and press cuttings (approx £1,500)

The Transformation Trust wanted to mark its first anniversary by arranging a free end-of-term celebration at London's O2 Arena for pupils and teachers from across the country. The children's education charity funds extracurricular activities in secondary schools.

Objectives

- To celebrate The Transformation Trust's achievements over its first 12 months

- To raise awareness of the trust

- To showcase the work of the third-sector projects funded by the trust

- To create an opportunity for companies and philanthropists to find out more.

Strategy and plan

The Transformation Trust's core team and volunteers from government bodies including Partnerships for Schools and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills arranged a celebration event at London's iconic music venue The O2 Arena on 13 July. They secured event sponsors from UK companies and lined up pop acts and celebrities to give pupils, teachers and trust VIPs an afternoon of free entertainment.

A pre-concert VIP reception gave trust chairman Sir David Bell, Norman Lamb MP and lead sponsor British Gas an opportunity to address existing and would-be sponsors, as well as representatives from business, local government and the arts. Trust-funded projects also showcased their work in an exhibition.

The charity set up media partnerships with The Times, Kiss 100 and niche titles Times Education Supplement (TES) and Building. Kiss 100 advised the PR team on market appeal with regards to acts, and provided Kiss 100's breakfast show presenters Rickie, Melvin and Charlie as hosts for the concert. The line-up included performances by The Saturdays, Tinchy Stryder and X Factor finalist Stacey Solomon.

The PR team worked closely with artists' agents and managers to secure quotes and approved photography beforehand, and media interviews and photos on the day.

Pre-event publicity with national news and picture agencies and forward-planning desks ensured that more than 30 photographers were able to capture photography onand off-stage. Among those attending were PA, Getty Images, Rex Features, Big Pictures and Xposure.

The new-look trust website was launched on the day of the concert, and promoted through social media.

Measurement and evaluation

The campaign generated more than 140 items of coverage across national, regional and local print media and in trade and online media. Almost all of the photography taken on the day credited The Transformation Trust. Highlights included pieces in The Times, The Guardian, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, First News, TES and SecEd.

Results

Around 12,000 pupils and teachers attended the event at The O2. The Transformation Trust is considering making it an annual celebration.

SECOND OPINION

Rob Dyson, PR manager, Whizz-Kidz

The Transformation Trust's media coverage is immediately impressive, especially given the incredibly modest budget. The anniversary event dates the trust as being conceived under the last government, but the timing of the PR falls at the start of the new coalition's administration - and the projects themselves are achingly on brand with David Cameron's Big Society vision.

It is noteworthy that, outside of work hours, government agency PROs pushed all of the comms. The success of the event wasn't harmed by the trust's core team having secured some serious corporate investors for the charity projects and social enterprises, headed up by the well-connected Sir David Bell. The link-up with youth-brand music artists was a canny move too.

Looking at the trust's social media, I would like to have seen more user-led championing by the beneficiaries of the third-sector projects themselves; young people.

Facebook was used to publish details of the event and did serve as a space for young people to post comments, but with only 233 Facebook fans I wonder if this could have been used to greater effect by involving young people more closely and letting them drive the content themselves. The Twitter profile also has a mere 36 Twitter followers (at the time of writing).

I think it's a great result; expertly stage managed by well-oiled PR around the O2 event, but with less emphasis on youth-led comms in cross-media platforms.

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