The Edit Blog

Making a difference to The Salvation Army’s emergency coronavirus appeal

ARTICLE BY Clare Arndell
READ TIME: 3 mins
4th August 2020

One of the most gratifying aspects of working with charities is seeing the real and human impact they have. We saw this when working with The Salvation Army to help them raise £2.1million in donations for their emergency coronavirus appeal.

We worked in partnership with The Salvation Army, who produced exceptionally strong creative assets showcasing the impact of their work. This cold acquisition campaign generated the income at an ROI of 2.7:1. But this was part of a bigger, integrated warm and cold campaign which raised over £5million in total at an ROI of 5:1.

An outstanding achievement by any standards. One that enabled The Salvation Army to increase the work they normally do to help those hardest hit by the coronavirus. This included delivering food parcels, providing accommodation for homeless people and offering employment advice for those who were out of work.

Creating cost-effective advertising in minimal time

Their brief to us was simple: we need some help to do this as cost-effectively as possible, and we need it turned around as quickly as possible.

How did we respond? By focusing our efforts on where they mattered most and could have the greatest impact.

By leveraging our relationships with media owners, we created a media goodwill fund called crEdit. This allowed charities like The Salvation Army to access free and highly discounted media inventory.

The first channel they briefed, owing to its short lead times, was press. They briefed us on the Friday afternoon and, after checking availability, we presented a schedule on the Monday for the client to approve.

We booked the ads on the Tuesday and the first ads appeared on the Wednesday – just 3 working days from the brief.

For the initial burst, we achieved a 50% discount off their historic and market rates. This, along with judicious use of cost-effective formats and a strong call to action, contributed towards generating an ROI of 4 off this initial spend – an amazing result for any charity appeal.

Next steps to maximising ROI for the Salvation Army

As a result of this success, we went on to book subsequent weeks of press.  We then added further channels to the mix to build reach and scale up the number of donations The Salvation Army would receive.

For inserts, we were able to use historic results data to understand which titles were likely to work best for the client and then negotiate discounted media rates. Along with discounted print costs, it was the added value within the plan that helped generate a high ROI for the medium.

For TV, we were able to take advantage of reduced CPTs, no late booking charges and increased ratings. We created a  schedule which would deliver extremely cost-efficient reach among their typical donors. It also reached a wider pool of prospective new donors who we wouldn’t normally hit.

As with many charities, this client normally concentrates their spend in Q4. So, this was a real departure for them and potentially high risk. We couldn’t confidently forecast response at a time when everyday life has changed so dramatically. The discounted media space mitigated the risk somewhat, along with our expert knowledge of what can work really well for charities.

Finding success through the coronavirus emergency appeal

Clare Lawson, Head of Individual Giving at The Salvation Army commented “The emergency appeal campaign was a huge success in terms of income. But it also allowed us to reach new audiences, showcasing how relevant our work as a charity is. For the team, organisation and the agency partners, pulling this campaign together in such a short timescale was a great achievement.”

If you’re interested in accessing crEdit or discussing the media buying for your charity or business, then please get in touch: [email protected]