Campaigns: Millions roll in for final hour of 1999 - Charity PR

Children’s Promise is a joint venture between the New Millennium Experience Company and Marks and Spencer. Under the initiative everyone in the UK was invited to donate their last hour’s earnings of the last millennium, either individually or through their company’s payroll.

Children’s Promise is a joint venture between the New Millennium

Experience Company and Marks and Spencer. Under the initiative everyone

in the UK was invited to donate their last hour’s earnings of the last

millennium, either individually or through their company’s payroll.



Children’s Promise was presented to M&S by NMEC as an idea with a strong

community element.M&S pledged to cover all operating costs and donated

pounds 1 million to start the fund. An alliance was formed with seven

children’s charities: Barnardo’s, BBC Children in Need, The Children’s

Society, ChildLine, Comic Relief, NCH Action for Children and the

NSPCC.





Objectives



M&S regularly invests pounds 10 million in community projects and felt

that marking the new millennium iwith a new project would position the

company as forward-thinking. The main aim was to increase people’s

awareness of children’s needs and rights through an alliance of

children’s charities.



M&S also aimed to encourage those who were not working to donate.





Strategy and Plan



It was decided that groups should be established to maximise

efficiency.



A management structure was set up to drive and implement an integrated

fundraising and communications strategy. A steering group, comprised of

one senior representative from each charity, NMEC and M&S was

established and five working groups were set up to support the campaign

in different areas: communications, fund-raising, volunteering, child

services and finance. A web site at www.childrens-promise.co. uk. was

also set up to provide information.



The strategy was broken down into key phases, and from December 1998 to

January 1999 focused on initial employer awareness. The advertising was

launched on 1 December 1998 and regional radio interviews were generated

by the PR team.



From January to March 1999, key trade press were targeted to drive

employer sign-ups using examples of early supporter companies and photo

calls.



All sectors were covered and payroll managers were targeted via specific

publications and trade shows.



From October to December 1999, the PR campaign revolved around

celebrities giving an hour of time to encourage the public to give an

hour’s pay.



Every regional paper was given tailored articles about the need in their

area, the local celebrities and companies involved. A major regional

radio interview programme was initiated which included senior charity

representatives.





Measurement and Evaluation



Full measurement and evaluation will not be complete until the campaign

has announced the final total raised, as companies and individuals can

still donate money.



Coverage appeared in all regional newspapers, key trade press and on

regional radio stations. Television interviews focused on endorsements

from supporting celebrities such as Michael Parkinson on Breakfast With

Frost and Brenda Blethyn on GMTV.





Results



The final amount of funds raised will not be known until well into 2000,

but pounds 14.5 million has been generated so far. According to M&S,

national awareness of Children’s Promise now stands at 55 per cent. The

campaign has signed up 4,500 companies, representing over eight million

employees, with more than half of those companies being new to payroll

giving.



Client: Marks and Spencer and the New Millennium Experience Company

(NMEC)

PR Team: In-house, Countrywide Porter Novelli (Phase One and Scotland),

Freud Communications (Phase two), Anderson Kenny (Northern Ireland)

Campaign: Children’s Promise: The Millennium Final Hour Appeal

Timescale: Launched June 1998 - ongoing

Budget: Sponsored as part of M&S’ pounds 12 million investment in the

Millennium Experience



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