As Comic Relief raised a staggering £75 million in its 25th year, iD Staffing Account Executive Flo Horwich delves into the concept of using experiential marketing tactics to help charities promote their cause.
Not many of us could deny crossing the road, when catching sight of a grinning youth in a brightly coloured jacket, brandishing a clipboard and barricading your path. More often than not, my reaction is to smile politely, tap my watch and quicken my pace while heading on my way.
Can you honestly say that you have never fast-forwarded through the adverts on TV, which aim to raise awareness and encourage support for serious issues affecting fellow human beings in parts of the world less fortunate than our own?
I will hold my hands up and accept - I too am guilty.
It is not that we are uncharitable; however there seems to be a knee jerk reaction to flee from persistent street fundraisers. Indeed, one only needs to Google the term ‘chugger’ to be presented with lists of news articles relating to local councils determined to ‘protect the public’ from charity fundraisers on the high street, allowing us to ‘breathe a sigh of relief’ (The Independent Nov 2012). Recent developments in the law involve a legal restriction which was introduced in August 2012 meaning that fundraisers cannot follow a person or stand within 3m of a shop.
Many of us no doubt tuned in to Comic Relief on Friday and felt a mixture of emotions as we watched celebrity’s take part in extreme and funny tasks in order to raise money for some of the poorest countries in the world. Equally laughing and shedding a tear as we were exposed to the harsh reality of the living conditions and devastating effect of the economical issues in third world countries.
Here at iD we are currently working with one of the largest charities in the world that supports families in Sierra Leone and aims to raise awareness throughout the UK. Our work doesn’t involve hounding people on the street; instead we create immersive experiences to help attract new sponsors. Much like Comic Relief we are engaging the key senses allowing fundraisers to be taken on a journey using video, guided discussion and a range of activities enabling them to fully understand the importance of the cause.
Having been part of the experience I am now increasingly aware of the shocking statistics: Sierra Leone is ranked 180th out of 182 countries on the Human Development Index, making it one of the world's poorest countries.
About four-fifths of the population lives in absolute poverty, forced to survive on less than 60p a day… That's less than a fiver a week! The World Food Program estimates that 40 per cent of children in Sierra Leone under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnourishment.
When it comes to charitable cause’s experiential tactics work well as the focus lies more on creating an experience to engage fundraisers, generating discussion and targeting their emotions rather than simply haggling on the street.