How baby charity Tommy’s made a fundraising splash with Facebook Messenger

Baby health charity Tommy’s has driven fundraising for its Splashathon event to new heights thanks to its online networks of mums and a personalised Facebook Messenger quiz.

Chloe Green | 13th Sep 19

When it comes to online audiences, parents can be some of the most vocal groups out there. Popular website Mumsnet functions as the digital ‘school gate’ for parents to share information, and its over 5 million users have initiated national campaigns and even helped swing elections.

Having historically focused on traditional PR, baby charity Tommy’s are now tapping into the collective power of online parent communities.

The charity works to fund life-saving research into miscarriage stillbirth and premature birth and provides pregnancy health advice to parents, with the goal of halving the number of babies that die during pregnancy or birth by 2030.

This year’s Splashathon event saw babies, toddlers and their parents take the water in a fun costume event to raise money for the charity. The event was run in partnership with baby swimming lessons Water Babies, with a special sponsored activity day in the pool on the 24th June. For the first time, it also had a strong digital component.

> See also: Health charity to undertake digital promotion for £1m fundraiser

Hannah Johnson, Managing Director of digital marketing agency Blue State, who worked on the campaign, says:

“Tommy’s had a desire to shift the campaign to where the conversation is happening. We know there is a community out there, with parents talking within their swim groups, so thought about how we can take this conversation online.”

“We began to explore different channels including Facebook Messenger. We’ve had a lot of success with fundraising on this – the beautiful thing about Messenger is that people don’t have to wait, it’s real time, there is direct engagement one-to-one, and personalisation is baked in. Petition fatigue is on the rise – part of using Messenger and being able to have the conversation a bit more privately.”


Little Splashers

After some research and analysis on the kinds of conversations that happen amongst parents online, Blue State were inspired to design a one-to-one experience.

From this, Blue State designed a “Little Splasher” quiz that parents could take through Facebook Messenger about their child’s swimming style.

“From social listening, we started to notice a trend of parents talking about and sharing their child’s swimming style. We noticed a real character and individuality to the swimming, so we wanted to bring in a chatbot that analyses swimming styles. It’s a bit of fun and it helps give us that insight about how parents are engaging online as well.”

A key element of the online journey was engaging a network of enthusiastic influencers from across different regions, joining conversations in local, often closed groups. Water Babies ambassadors and parents leading the conversations online were approached and given assets to spread the news about the campaign within their groups.

“We were facilitating these conversations in quite an organic way,” says Johnson, “making sure they had everything they need in terms of photography and information, and encouraging them to talk about how they engaged, making sure we had the right balance of national and regional, micro- influencers.”

> See also: How Greenpeace is driving regular donations with Facebook Messenger

“People may have heard about Splashathon online or at their local Water Babies class or seen a Facebook or Instagram ad, or may have been an influencer talking about it. They could then engage with the chatbot and quiz. We were very quick to mention GDPR before we got into a conversation, to ensure they’re happy to share their data. We then followed that up a conversation around how much money had been raised so far.”

Across the campaign, they achieved a unique reach of around 400,000 people, with 800 completions of the quiz. The campaign raised £930,111, joining the top 25 mass participation fundraising events in the UK.

“Considering the campaign itself involved short-term interaction taking only around 3-4 minutes in total, we were happy with that,” says Johnson.