10 tips for your 2022 charity Christmas campaign

This article is part of a series inspired by our webinar on Wednesday 11 May 2022; ‘Creative inspiration for your 2022 charity Christmas campaign‘.

Keep reading for our top insights and planning tips, or watch the full session below. For more festive creative inspiration, see our favourite charity campaigns of Christmas past.

Download the slides here.

In a live poll during the above webinar, 46% of respondents said they’d already started planning their Christmas campaign, with 36% just about to start theirs.

However, budget, time to plan, stakeholder alignment and creative ideas and inspiration were all cited as top challenges.

So, we put together this webinar to offer some tips, tricks and creative inspiration for planning your 2022 charity Christmas campaign.

First, let’s take a look at the trends.

Christmas has long been seen as the holy grail period for fundraising. In fact, according to Enthuse’s latest donor pulse winter report:

  • 30% of people tend to give more at Christmas
  • 49% of the public is more likely to give at Christmas than any other time of the year
  • 38% say they give at Christmas just because they’re asked to
  • 42% actively seek out opportunities to give around the festive period.

However, the past few years have been particularly interesting (and challenging) for the charity sector.

The disruption of COVID-19 has pushed more charities online and, as a result, organisations are bringing more innovative products and campaigns to market. 

There’s also been a hugely significant in-flux of brands moving in on the social purpose space, making it harder than ever for charities to stand out from the crowd.

But, as ever, charities have risen to the challenge. Here are just a few ways charities are continuing to compete and succeed during the festive season.

Innovations in fundraising products

In recent years we’ve seen some brilliant innovations in fundraising products, with impressive results. For example, Action for Children’s Secret Santa raised over £1m from 45,000 Secret Santas last year, while Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day continues to grow and evolve.

Perhaps slightly less well-known is No Waste at Christmas by Greenpeace. This is a fascinating lead generation campaign which found a way to authentically link Christmas fundraising to an environmental cause. And then there’s my personal favourite, Bloody Good Period’s Flowhoho, which rewrites the script on gift-giving with meaning.

Interesting brand partnerships

We’ve also seen some really interesting partnerships with brands, like Comic Relief and Walkers below.

More integrated campaigns

Campaigns are also becoming more and more integrated, often extending the reach of Christmas across a range of channels and departments. A great example of this is Salvation Army’s DRTV campaign, which includes a digital and direct mail journey.

Key challenges for 2022

This year however presents a whole new set of challenges.

Cost of living crisis

The current cost of living crisis is almost certainly going to have an impact on Christmas giving. In 2021, Enthuse’s Donor Pulse research found that 43% of people felt their financial situation would make it harder for them to donate at Christmas. And, with inflation set to reach over 7% this year, we expect giving to take an even bigger hit this time.

Fifa World Cup impact

Competing with brands with huge advertising budgets is going to be more difficult than ever with the addition of the first winter Fifa World Cup. In fact, global digital ad spend is forecast to reach 9.2% growth in 2022 and double that of TV spend.

Competing with brands

There’s also the ever-increasing competition between ads for the Christmas number 1 spot.

Partnerships can (and do) help charities boost exposure and income in a crowded market place. However, NFP research has shown that charities are often overshadowed by their big name partners, with fewer people able to recall the charity than the brand.

For example, do you remember John Lewis’ Buster the Boxer campaign? Well, do you also remember the charity partner? Just 0.4% of those surveyed remembered the Wildlife Trust, compared to the 24% able to recall John Lewis.

Planning your 2022 charity Christmas campaign

So, with everything in mind, here are 10 top tips to help you in your planning.

1. Integration is key

I can’t stress enough how important it is to get your key stakeholders aligned as early as possible. This is especially true at Christmas, where customer journeys and multi-channel thinking is a must. And this includes your agencies! It’s great to have a ‘lead’ agency, but others need to be on board too. So be sure to get everyone singing from the same hymn sheet asap.

2. Use insight, always

We know it can be difficult to know which insight to focus on, or perhaps this is your first campaign and you don’t have loads to go on. However, when onboarding the right agency, you don’t need all the answers. Start those conversations and improve buy-in by getting your agencies involved at the beginning.

3. Creative propositions rule

For us, standing out from the crowd starts with the core creative proposition. It’s this that sets the foundation for differentiation, and so it’s important you take a clear route that’s grounded in insight. 

For inspiration from our strategy team, as well as speakers from Mind, Royal Air Forces Association and Humankind Research, watch our Relay event: ‘Insight and Creative: How charities are boosting their campaigns‘.

4. Try thinking beyond your usual audiences

Many charities often default to their go-to audiences around Christmas. In fact, in our live poll, 65% of charities said they target 55-64 year olds, and only 6% said they target Millennials. Incredibly, no one said they were looking at Gen Z!

I found this fascinating – and am going to try to challenge your thinking. NFP research indicates that Gen Z and Millennials are the most likely to donate over the festive period! Could it be time to think beyond your usual Dorothy Donor?

5. Harness the power of storytelling

It’s no secret that we believe in the power of storytelling. This is especially true at Christmas, where competition for attention, empathy and action among audiences is huge. Our approach is to focus your creative on real, human stories, while seeking out unique, perception-changing ways of telling them.

6. Be open to being challenged

If you’re looking to invest in a strategy agency for their thinking, be open to investing in those new ideas and fresh perspectives. 

7. Take (calculated) risks

Always easier said than done, particularly in the third sector. But, as these examples show, the charities that stand out this Christmas will be the ones that take risks. The calculated bit often comes in choosing the right agency partner. So, select one you can trust to take risks based on insight, not just for the sake of being ‘disruptive’. 

8. Do it early

Don’t do that thing you do with Christmas shopping! Get organised, start planning now, and start conversations with stakeholders and first choice agencies now.

9. Timing isn’t everything (but it certainly helps)

There’s no set rule to dictate when your appeal should start. However, there are lots of factors to consider. Black Friday, the Fifa World Cup and Giving Tuesday will all have an impact, so work closely with your media agency, and factor in insights from past campaigns. If in doubt, shortly after Black Friday is a good place to start, though remember to evolve your messaging over the Christmas period. 

10. Remember your supporter journey

We often see Christmas with a short term lens – yet we don’t tackle our other campaigns like this. So why do so many of us see Christmas as a one-off fundraising opportunity? In fact, the best (and most effective) Christmas campaigns have a well planned supporter journey.

In summary, while there are many challenges facing charities this year, now is not the time to stop asking. Instead, it’s time to focus on making a really solid, compelling and creative case for support – because that’s what will really help your charity Christmas campaigns to stand out from the crowd.

We can help!

As you can probably tell, we’re really excited about Christmas and would love to work with you this year! Whether you have a festive brief in mind, or think you might benefit from a workshop with our strategy and creative elves, please get in touch with Hannah and Rob at hello@raw.london.

For more festive creative inspiration, see our favourite charity campaigns of Christmas past.

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