Christmas in October: The most memorable charity Christmas campaigns

A round up of tips to kickstart your digital campaign for the festive season by looking at successful charity campaigns

Chrissy Chiu | 28th Oct 19
knitted christmas bauble highlighting charity christmas campaign

As the weather gets colder and December draws near, it’s time to start thinking about your upcoming holiday digital campaign. In the past, we’ve seen some of the best campaigns use social media, event days, and many other creative digital techniques to showcase charity causes. Ahead of Christmas, we look back at some of the best charity Christmas campaigns and share some tips as to why they were successful.

Most memorable charity Christmas campaigns

1. ‘A dog is for life, not just Christmas’ – The Dogs Trust
While many children dream about a puppy bursting out of a beautifully wrapped box for Christmas, the Dogs Trust issued YouTube videos and made use of comedy to highlight the responsibility of owning a pet.  Using funny relationship break up scenarios, the animal charity used digital to get its message out – reducing the number of dogs given up.

2. Christmas appeal  – St Mungo’s
Helping rough sleepers and homeless people, St Mungo’s Christmas appeal included digital gifts, YouTube videos, and social media. The video campaigned featured people on the streets and interchanged them with images of what they could be like if helped. The video was featured on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

3. ‘A Stranger Christmas Story’  – Christian Aid
Capturing the fascination with Netflix’s Stranger Things hit series, Christian Aid released a Christmas story along similar lines. With background music from the streaming series, the video featured three children searching for a boy away from home.

4. ‘Christmas Emergency Appeal’  – Samaritans
Known for its emotional advertisements, the suicide prevention charity partnered with TorchBox, a digital marketing consultant to drive a pay-per-click (PPC) digital campaign on search engine sites. The PPC campaign helped raise £33k in revenues and ran along side the ‘Small talk Saves Lives’ campaign.

> See also: 10 religious charities doing great things with digital

5. Christmas at Great Ormond Street Hospital – GOSH and GOSH Children’s Charity
Event days, videos, digital campaigns, and special guests were used throughout the holiday season by the children’s hospital:

12 Days of GOSH Christmas  – Featured on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, the charity counted down towards Christmas. Every day, a story featuring a child who is too ill to make it home for Christmas was broadcast on the charity’s social medial channels.

Celebrities at the GOSH Christmas Party  – Heavy hitting celebrities like Gillian Anderson, Emma Bunton, and have supported the charity’s children Christmas Parties and helped to raise the charity’s digital profile.

Children’s news stories  – Helping to bring home the impact of donations, the charity also features news stories and videos of children who spend Christmas at the hospital.

London Santa Dash  – Focusing on engaging potential donors through event days, GOSH’s London Santa Dash charity run raised funds for the hospital – 3,000 Santas turned up to run, walk and jog the 5km or 10km route.

Refresher: Top tips for holiday digital campaigns

1. Setting campaign goals
While not quite a New Year’s resolution, setting campaign goals can help charities target fundraising, subscriber, or impact goals. Lightful, a social media management platform for charities recommends that goals be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.

2. Knowing your audience is key
Doing homework around your audience before launching a full digital campaign is important. Getting information doesn’t need to be challenging or costly, there are plenty of free information sources. We reported on some of the best free online databases capture social media trends, demographics, and consumer statistics.

3. Marketing the digital campaign
Digital tools can help market and manage festive digital charity campaigns. SEO marketing can help drive publicity. Getting on social media is essential. Key tips include reaching out to influencers, deciding on management platforms, selecting fundraising tools, and tailoring messages. Updating the holiday digital campaign is also vital – social media scheduling and management tools are perfect for charities who have employees taking holiday.

> See also: The charity organisations doing best on digital fundraising platforms