PRWeek Awards 2011: Digital and Social Media

Using the internet to bring historic events to life has successfully positioned the RAF Benevolent Fund as a modern service charity.

Digital and Social Media Award winner: RAF Benevolent Fund ‘1940 Chronicle’
Digital and Social Media Award winner: RAF Benevolent Fund ‘1940 Chronicle’

The charity wanted to raise its profile during the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, reaching beyond its traditional audience and targeting a younger demographic. Also, it wanted to make the most of social media and digital platforms to communicate the human impact of war while driving online donations.


This campaign was not just social for social's sake. It had a tough brief, but met its objectives with tangible results.

Nik Done. co-founder, Unity

The in-house team worked with web design and digital marketing agency Reading Room during a four-month social media campaign. A website titled 1940 Chronicle was created to highlight the events of the Battle of Britain in an online newspaper that included daily news, pictures and archived video footage.

Website content was produced by author Kevin Telfer and was verified by a historical consultant.

Blogs and Twitter feeds were produced for five fictional characters who provided a real-time commentary for online fans. This let the in-house team that was managing the social media channels interact with younger audiences and explain the charity's work.

Historical and aviation forums as well as relevant bloggers were targeted to promote the campaign online. Also, influential individuals such as Stephen Fry and Dan Snow received previews of the website.

The 1940 Chronicle campaign successfully achieved its aim of using digital and social media, engaging 2,000 followers on Twitter and 16,000 fans on its dedicated Facebook page. Results from Facebook Insights show the charity increased its involvement with a younger audience – 50 per cent of its online supporters were under the age of 45.

Online donations to the charity increased by 199 per cent during the campaign compared with the same four-month period in 2009. The charity also added more than 1,000 contacts to its email list.

The 1940 Chronicle has been chosen to become part of the British Library's digital archive of British documentary heritage, which will be used by the Historical Association and by teachers.

The Book of the Night 2011 will be available in this week's issue of PRWeek

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