Campaign: Kids' charity targets Christmas clubbers - Voluntary Sector

Campaign: Give a Kid a Quid Client: Echo Trust PR team: In-house Timescale: Ongoing from December 2004 Budget: £2,000

Children's charity Echo Trust, set up by theme bar giant Luminar Leisure, distributes money collected at venues to other kids' organisations through a grant scheme. The in-house press office, responsible for coming up with simple fundraising ideas for the general managers of Luminar's bars and restaurants, wanted to boost donations around Christmas and the new year.

Objectives

To mark the start of 2005 with a campaign that would help Echo Trust stand out through special events at Luminar venues. To generate interest among media in areas where Luminar operates and drive footfall at its bars and restaurants across the country.

Strategy and Plan

The team, needing a device that would work across Luminar's bars - which include Chicago Rock Cafe and Jumpin' Jak's - created the 'Give a Kid a Quid' theme, which would ask customers to donate cash. Bars were given posters and flyers, while drinks brand Vodka Kick sponsored events.

To get local media on-side, Echo thought celebrity backing would be necessary. Because Newcastle upon Tyne charity The Sunshine Fund (one of the organisations in Echo's donation scheme) had TV presenters Ant and Dec as its patrons, Echo approached the duo.

Ant and Dec agreed to support the campaign if Echo donated £10,000 to The Sunshine Fund at the end of the fundraising period. They allowed Echo to use their photographs and association with the project in press releases, and signed I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! artwork that donors could win through a competition.

Releases announcing the presenters' involvement were sent to the entertainment correspondents of local newspapers in areas where Luminar bars were staging special nights for the campaign. Follow-up press releases detailed the grants being awarded to charities by Echo.

Measurement and Evaluation

Although Ant and Dec did not appear at venues, regional publications linked their involvement with Give a Kid a Quid. Coverage appeared in the Peterborough Evening Telegraph, Nottingham Evening Post, Kent Messenger and the Birmingham Evening Mail, among others.

Echo press and PR manager Claire de Silva, who appeared in six local radio interviews, says the strapline was successful and would be used again for future campaigns.

Results

Around £200,000 was raised during December 2004 and January 2005, cash that has benefited more than 50 Echo-affiliated charities this year. As a result of the amount raised, Echo was able to offer The Sunshine Fund a cheque for £12,500 - 25 per cent more money than originally offered. The response also made it possible for Echo to give a £100,000 donation to a tsunami fund.

Newcastle Evening Chronicle deputy editor Chris Styles says: 'Echo provided great material for us to feature the fundraising campaign. The use of high-profile celebrities, also local to Newcastle, made the article interesting enough to stand out as a strong piece.'

SECOND OPINION

Trudy Millar, PR manager at children's charity Rainbow Trust, has worked on many fundraising schemes It was essential that the team at Echo Trust kept its fundraising idea as simple as possible so that bar managers felt encouraged to participate over such a busy period. Indeed, I think keeping the theme simple influenced the fundraiser's success.

Ant and Dec were a great choice as figureheads - their popularity transcends so many boundaries. Use of their photos and quotes no doubt helped the team obtain coverage for an activity that may have otherwise been overlooked.

By teaming up with a regular beneficiary (The Sunshine Fund) to obtain celebrity endorsement, Echo was able to ensure that the fee went straight back to helping children. It was a good idea to use local radio interviews too, as these are a good way of reaching the target audience.

As a low-effort, high-return fundraiser, Give a Kid a Quid was effective.

It can be difficult to choose between a creative PR idea that captures media imagination, but is yet to be road-tested as an effective fundraiser, and a simple method that is proven to engage but is perhaps of less obvious media interest.

In this instance less was definitely more, and by using the celebrity angle, Echo was also able to secure good local PR. A 100:1 return on investment is an excellent result.

Creativity: 3 Delivery: 5 8/10

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