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A look at the End7 digital campaign

Here at Positive we constantly seek effectiveness within our agency, the charity sector and the digital realm. This week we came across a particularly remarkable campaign for End7 by Wunderman London, which proved some noteworthy results.

The campaign

The End7 campaign was based on the premise that often people are either desensitised or turn away from charity adverts that show disturbing images. In order to re-engage an audience that was shutting off and migrating online, End7 hit YouTube and approached things from a new angle. The short video showed celebrities reacting to footage of diseases that affect some of the poorest people in the world. The video cuts to show the viewer what they saw and then back to the celebs underlining exactly how the viewer can help the cause.

The results

  • Within a week the video received over 300,000 views (200,000 for the US/100,000 for the UK version).
  • It was ranked #5 on YouTube’s list of ‘Most Popular on the Web’.
  • Globally viewers watched more than 400,000 minutes of the video with 75% of viewers watching more than two minutes, proving people were not leaving the video quickly but engaging.

Most importantly, within a week the video generated £60,000 of donations (an average of 20p per view). This can treat and protect 120,000 children from all seven diseases for a year. This is a remarkable ROI considering the video cost £20,000 to produce in total.

Our thoughts

  • Reaching out to viewers on their terms was the best approach; meeting them on platforms they use (YouTube, Facebook and Twitter) put the cause at the doorstep of their target audience, allowing them to also share the campaign freely.
  • Celebrity promotions are popular and showing their reaction stirred curiosity, promotion and advocacy for the cause. From a digital perspective, each celebrity in the video will have their own online presence and following online. Celebrity reputations can help springboard campaigns into the limelight.
  • The charity showed how a realistic contribution could seriously help end seven horrific diseases which plague those in severe destitution and poverty. Unlike many open ended epidemics, the charity showed how a meagre donation could end the problem by a targeted date, 2020.
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How volunteering offers additional insight

As Project Manager here at Positive I work with many inspiring charities to develop their digital comms, whether that’s a new website, email campaign or full digital strategy. I also volunteer for several charities, which gives me a unique perspective on how digital can be used from both sides: knowing the needs of the charity, and also who they are hoping to engage with.

I’ve been a volunteer for many years and really love the opportunities that it gives me – the chance to meet so many different people, be involved with new experiences and support a great cause at the same time. Digital has an ever-increasing role to play – I’ve been a volunteer for Make a Wish for almost ten years now and since they launched their online Intranet this has become even easier. At the click of a button I can say whether I am free to help and download the latest documents: for the head office team it’s invaluable when co-ordinating volunteers country-wide. Regular emails keep me up to date, and they actively use Facebook and Twitter to support their volunteers, which is also a great way to showcase the breadth of activities people are involved with.

An online volunteer network is in the pipeline too which will be a great way to stay connected to my fellow volunteers – the team element of volunteering is often why people get involved. The many digital channels are great for organising fundraising events, training weekends and socials – all arranged by email/Facebook with little effort. Online is also where I find out about potential new volunteering opportunities or see an event I want to be part of. Being able to quickly research the charity and find out more about what they do and how I can be involved is really important. It’s often where I initially apply to be a volunteer too, with varying standards of forms and documentation! Often the first impression I get of how the charity is run, these are key too: being a volunteer relies on internal support and organisation so this detail shouldn’t be overlooked.

When I mention that I volunteer, people often think it takes a lot of time but this is really dependent on the voluntary work you choose. Kids’ camp this summer for the Youth Adventure Trust took a full week, but that’s my commitment for the year. Make a Wish is usually 1-2 hours at a time in the evening, and can simply be declined if life just gets too busy. There may be people for whom a regular commitment of volunteering at a certain time once a week fits in better, but for me the flexibility is key. Making it clear to potential volunteers just how they can help, and how the volunteering can fit around them, would show how people can get involved on their terms.

I also think it is important to identify the different ways volunteers can help, so that it appeals to their interests and means they can avoid areas they don’t enjoy – volunteering has to be something you really want to do. All my volunteering is focused on events and experiences – helping out in a charity shop, making presentations or cold calling people to raise funds just isn’t for me so I wouldn’t have the motivation to do this, but offer me the chance to meet inspiring children or join an adventure camp in Wales and I’m there!

Digital has an important part to play in recruiting new supporters so a few thoughts on what I think should charities should consider:

  • Be clear what the commitment will be: once a week every week for an hour, once every six months for a weekend. That way people can see how it could work for them. 
  • Identify the skills and interests that might suit certain roles, so people understand the breadth of opportunities available. Volunteering can be a really great way of pursuing interests that the day job doesn’t allow. 
  • Include case studies from volunteers currently involved to show the broad range of people, skills and roles. 
  • Be professional in your approach to documentation – it’s an insight into how organised and professional you will be to work with. People are giving their time for free and like to know this will be valued and used effectively. 
  • Use digital to keep volunteers informed but not overwhelmed – it’s essential to keep them engaged with the results of their hard work, but keep emails to the point and let the website showcase the full stories. 
  • Use social media to create a volunteer network – a great way to find out locally what’s going on, keep people engaged and make new friends.

Volunteering is something I find hugely rewarding – it gives me the opportunity to do something I enjoy that I otherwise wouldn’t get chance to do, to meet new people and have unforgettable experiences. It’s allowed me to develop skills and try new things: being part of a team, working with likeminded people and supporting a good cause at the same time. A great way to spend time and have lots of fun: the only question is what can I do next? Best get online and see what’s out there…

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Lessons from Africa is Highly Commended at the Charity Times Awards

Great news this week as the Lessons from Africa website we developed with Send a Cow was Highly Commended at the Charity Times Awards in the 'Best use of the web' category.

The Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony was held at the Lancaster London Hotel, with Send a Cow's Community Fundraising Manager Karl Gwilliam on hand to accept the award. The Awards continue to be the pre-eminent celebration of best practice in the UK charity and not-for-profit sector, and the objectives have remained consistent since their inception:  

  • To honour the outstanding professionals in the many and varied fields of charity management  
  • To support continuing professional development and contribute towards raising the standards of charity management
  • To promote and raise the profile of the charity sector  
  • To provide recognition for those who are providing effective support to the sector

Fantastic to be recognised alongside other such esteemed charities. Congratulations all round!

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Kate S

Design tips for an effective charity homepage

Here are some helpful tips to consider the next time you re-design your charity site homepage.

Information overload

Keep content short, concise and essential. The homepage is the face of your website: it should represent who you are and provide just enough detail to explain what you do. Bite-size chunks of impactful copy are much more effective than paragraphs of text – a short punchy sentence explaining who you are is perfect. Keeping the users attention is vital so don't make life hard for them. Provide them with just enough content up front and allow them to access more (if they want to).

For some charities a re-design can become a department battleground. Each department fight for prominence, the objectives get lost and ultimately it gets designed by committee. Try to fight against organisation politics and adopt a user-centered approach to the re-design.

Predict the user journeys

Typically a user will arrive at your website looking for something specific. During the Information Architecture (IA) phase, a basic card sorting exercise can help the project team assign items to your homepage. This group consensus approach will allow you to predict the users’ motivations and answer the questions they are asking on arrival. Use motivating copy for promo titles, such as ‘Want to get involved?’ and ‘Looking for last years’ results?’. An encouraging tone of voice can keep up momentum and ultimately keep the user engaged with your site a bit longer.

Confusing social media

It’s important to use your social media buttons correctly. ‘Like’ and ‘Tweet’ should be in areas worth sharing, such as news articles and blog posts. The generic/logo social media buttons should then be used to connect to the channels themselves, and heavily promoted if your charity has a vibrant social offering.

Also, don't disguise the channel buttons too heavily with your own branding – the user should be able to identify these links at a glance. For most charities social media is the best way of connecting with their supporter groups so make sure the buttons aren’t hidden!

Not too many sad faces

Emotive photography is great, after all an image speaks a thousand words. Use positive and uplifting images to encourage users to help and be part of the solution instead of moody, sad images that attempt to guilt them into donating.

Don't hide the facts

If you've got great facts on how donations are used bring them to the homepage. Most users would want to know how their money will be spent so don't burry the facts and research away in the deepest darkest areas of the site. 

Tiny images 

Don't go too small with your thumbnail promo images – it's always going to be difficult to use an engaging image effectively that's under 100 pixels. Save the beautiful photography for the detail pages and free up some white space in the page instead

In second place comes…donate

Most charities make the donation call to action the most prominent item on their homepage but infact the donate button should come a close second to the charities elevator statement.

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Charities need to invest in digital, not spend on it.

Digital can help charities achieve their highest organisational objectives. This is a fact.

Then why do so many charities fail to utilise digital to this means? Well from my experience it's often clear from the beginning which ones will and which ones won’t and it starts with how the charity views procuring digital.

Whether from a big or small organisation, in general we are invited to tender by two types of charity client:

  • Those who see it as a cost, and aim to procure a solution as cheap as possible
    These people often invite a dozen agencies to pitch, keep them at arm’s length, go through 3 pitch stages at least, and play the client/supplier relationship very hard.
  • And those who see it as an investment, and are looking for someone they can work with to ensure that investment pays dividends
    These people tend to invite two or three agencies to talk with, and are open and honest about their challenges, budgets etc. and engage in meaningful conversations about the challenges from the beginning. They also tend to be realistic about budget and what can be achieved within it.

The former will change agencies every couple of years, spend repeatedly on the same things and rarely get any tangible ROI. This usually means the organisation and the board continue to see digital as a cost. They spend years under investing and so creating a false economy.

The latter, even if not very knowledgeable in digital, understand that they need experts to help them reach their goals (and often help them define and shape those goals). They know this will cost them a bit more, but they are buying expertise and experience, which should lead to a healthy ROI.

When you invest, rather than spend, you can expect to get results, rather than hope.

Hope and Hopes for Children came to us with the investment mentality, and 6 months after launch had achieved 164% increase in regular giving, 122% increase in single donations, awarded a 240k grant, and were recognised by the Design Business Association by receiving a highly coveted DBA Design Effectiveness Award!

Send a Cow, again came with this mentality when looking to create a new teaching resource, and (subsequently branded Lesson from Africa). Just 3 months after launch they have a 78% increase in downloads, 60% increase in speaker requests, and 100% increase in visitors. The work is also currently nominated for a Charity Times Award, and Third Sector Excellence Award (fingers crossed!).

In summary, charities need to invest, not spend. They needto work openly with experienced digital agencies and together they can ensure there is a ROI.

Take this approach early on and digital will start helping you achieve your organisation's largest objectives.

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Alconbury Weald website update

There have been some great additions to the Alconbury Weald website recently. 'What's happening' is a new section of the site that acts like the notice board of all things current. It's an area where the developers can show building progress, promote volunteer opportunities and display future visions. Also the 'Enterprise Campus' specifically promotes business space for research and development, production and office space. 

Visit the site and check out the progress 

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7 tips for charities who want to be smarter with digital

Have a strategy – have a roadmap. 

Strategy and strategic are overused words – but you can't avoid them. How sophisticated you are already being with digtial will dictate the approach and level of detail, but everyone needs a plan. In fact, lets remove the S word altogether and just call it what it is, a plan.

You need a plan in order to ensure you’re using digital to get the results you want, to contribute to your charity’s highest organisational goals. If you aren't contributing to them and solving problems that your organisation has, then what are you doing?

At its simplest:

  • Start with your charity’s top-level goals. Create a plan for how digital can contribute to them 
  • Get advice, get a good agency, get a good consultant – let them help you plan the potential solutions 
  • Create a loose roadmap planning activity over 18 months+
  • Review regularly

For charities already fully engaged and committed to digital, these plans will be quite detailed and cover many channels. For those still finding their way in digital, it will be a simpler proposition, but no less important.

Find good expertise, use them to help you create a plan – It will forever pay dividends.

Make sure you explicitly know what you want to achieve – or you’ll misfire

Sounds obvious, but all too often project or campaigns get the go-ahead without anyone clearly defining:

  • What success looks like 
  • What the KPIs are 
  • The approach, tools and metrics to measure the success

Without these things in place you’ll never really prove ROI, never get increased buy-in on digital from stakeholders, never get the increased budgets you need from the board.

If you're clear about the objectives and KPIs you can communicate this to your team, your agencies, and your stakeholders. Everyone knows exactly what's needed for success. Then when you get it, you can prove it... and bask in the glory ;-)

Work on getting the support of stakeholders

Getting the support of stakeholders and the board is essential if you are to commit to digital at the level that gets results. Digital heads or those responsible for digital output need to educate stakeholders as to how digital can contribute to the highest organisational goals. I've never met a charity who were really effective with digital until they had the support they needed.

Make sure your digital team reserve some time for this. Proving effectiveness and ROI helps here!

Don’t be led by technology or platform

Too many charities are being restricted in their ability to use digital effectively by self-imposed restrictions on the technology used. All too often briefs dictate (for no good reason) the technology that should be used, or the essential integration that MUST take place. In our experience, it’s often to the detriment of effectiveness. Dogmatically insisting you must use .Net, or Wordpress etc, integrate directly with Raisers Edge or similar, despite the fact it could limit the user experience you can offer your audience, can lead to poor outcomes.

If you are clear on what you want to achieve, be open minded about the platform, the technology, the likely solution. Find an agency that keeps the right things in their focus – delivering against your objectives, getting ROI, and proving it!

Website redevelopment, big digital campaigns etc. require investment, so you need results to justify them. Integration and automation isn't the be-all and end-all – successful supporter recruitment, donation levels, fundraising activity, education, and engagement are... dare to think about it differently.

Test, measure, adapt

You should be testing everything. Make sure budget and resource is reserved for this essential part of any digital project. Don't spend the whole budget on producing stuff, make sure you're able to analyse what you do, learn from it, draw the correct insight in order to make the next thing you do even more effective. Share the evidence and insight with your stakeholders and the board.

It still amazes me how often this is overlooked.

Don’t take on more than you can handle – do what you can, and do it well

The strategy/the plan, it has to be achievable.
Do less, do it better, involve the right people, use experts, get results, get the opportunity to do it again because you got results last time.

Look at value, not cost

Digital is not a commodity. Finding the cheapest ‘supplier’ is mostly a false economy and will come back to bite you. Instead find experts, partners, people who can deliver results, whether its a consultant to support an in-house team, single agency, or roster of agencies. Trust people, be honest, and work together.

If you work with the right people your activities will be seen as investments, not costs.

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Desk spaces available (£220 p/m all inc)

We’ve got a couple of desks available in our lovely friendly studio and we’re looking for freelancers to fill them. You might be a fellow digital designer or developer, or a copywriter/illustrator/UX specialist looking to share space with some likeminded creatives.

It's a great place to work – a bright, modern office with a high spec desk, plenty of storage and a Herman Miller chair to park yourself on. There's a kitchen, meeting room and breakout space that you can use, plus a reception to welcome your clients. Included is broadband/WiFi, the option of a phone line, and as much tea and coffee as you can drink!

Paintworks is on the Bath Road and can be easily reached on foot, by train, car or bike. There’s bike storage, on-site showers, visitor parking and a diner... plus the Bocabar is just a stone's throw away. What's not to like?

We're working on loads of exciting projects at the moment so if the brief fits then there's also the option of working together. There are two desks free – so come alone or bring a friend!

To find out more please call Kate Tanner on 0117 972 8852 or email

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