Now is the time to plan your Christmas campaign

Picture the scene… the end of 2020, a year we had to spend much of separated from our loved ones. It’s Christmas time, and families all over the country are settling in after their long journeys to return home.

As Clive Mishon of The Marketing Agencies Action Group (MAAG) said earlier this year, “it may be the first time families are properly together again”. Christmas 2020 is going to be the biggest one for decades. As you might have read in our recently-published COVID-19 report, it’s a fundraising opportunity no charity can afford to miss – this means you should start planning your Christmas appeal right about now.

Our Creative Approach to Christmas

Here at On Agency, our planning for Christmas begins in the Spring. Last year, we even ran a special Christmas Campaign Workshop for charities in May. We talked of ‘the wonky truth’, and how to deliver your message in a way that will stay in people’s long-term memories. There was the ‘power of contrast’, a technique to make your storytelling even more compelling, and format tips to give your direct mail campaigns clarity and urgency. Feel free to get in touch with us to find out more about last year’s workshop, and why it left participants feeling so inspired.

In May, tinsel and baubles are nowhere to be seen, but this is the time of year the most successful Christmas fundraisers start planning their activities.  

Connecting with your festive donors requires fresh thinking. Your 2020 campaign can’t just be the same as last year’s with a few extra bells and whistles. What’s going to make it truly stand out from every other charity Christmas appeal? And how are you going to ensure it’s a fully integrated campaign that goes across all channels’?

Freedom from Torture: More than A Box (2019)

These questions were at the front of our mind when we created Freedom from Torture’s ‘More than a Box’ Appeal last year. It was the charity’s most successful Christmas Appeal to date, delivering some excellent income results.

Our aim was to use existing creative content for FFT’s annual Christmas Care Box campaign, but in an enhanced way which would make it the most successful year yet.

To do this, we paired tangible items in the boxes with their metaphorical meanings for torture survivors and their children. We also made a bold, brave move to visualise what a torture survivor had endured to get to the UK, bringing to life the story of ‘Samir’ through an illustrated storybook.

To maximise success, our direct mail creative was taken into digital channels. The Freedom from Torture Christmas Shop was built on Shopify and donations were reframed as ‘purchases’. Supporters had the ability to ‘buy’ multiple items for survivors.

There was also a carefully crafted Facebook campaign, including an animation of our offline storybook, which had a dramatic impact on the results (check them out below!) The approach we took could be highly cost effective for your charity too, delivering strong results even if you don’t have the budget to commission brand new content.

Click here to read more about the ‘More than a Box’ appeal.

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Medical Aid for Palestinians: One Wish for Palestine Appeal (2019)

When putting together MAP’s One Wish for Palestine Christmas appeal last year, we were keen to reinvent the wheel and try something bold.

Instead of the usual Christmas and reminder mailings, we tested a double campaign, aiming to create a rallying cry for the children of Palestine. We sent out two independent appeals linked to the One Wish theme, each with fresh content and new asks, less than one month apart.

Each appeal had to generate a return worthy of the investment. Pack one would appeal to the heart: creating an emotionally charged narrative by using case studies. Pack two would appeal to the head: demonstrating the practical steps MAP are taking to alleviate suffering and revealing their big ambitions for 2020.

Scratching your head on your plans for Christmas 2020? Reach out and let us help you make the most of this unusual opportunity in the year of COVID-19. We’re operating as normal and you can reach us on 07917 113 157 or at hello@onagency.co.uk.

A parting thought for you: how can you normalise donations to your charity as a Christmas gift to someone else? One JustGiving study found that more than half of respondents would prefer this to receiving a physical gift. Call us today for a free discussion on how you can harness the potential.

Andrew Derlien, Creative Copywriter

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