The Heart Of Giving: Ten Unforgettable Charity Campaigns

Brand campaigns are crucial for charities and non-profits to inspire support, funds, and audience attention. Ultimately, they help cut through the noise and make a real-world impact.

But charity campaigns can also be inspiring in another way: creativity.

You heard us correctly. Tackling some of humanity’s most challenging and complex issues while inspiring others to care is no small feat. Ultimately, staying creative while maintaining the right tone can be difficult, which is exactly what makes the success stories all the more worth celebrating.

In truth, we all have a lot to learn from successful charity brand campaigns.

Countless branding and marketing campaigns have stood out to us in our studio. We thought we’d narrow it down and list some of our recent favourites. The ones that stopped us in our tracks and made us go ‘wow.’

Here, we dive into some of the best charity campaigns. Exploring what makes them so effective, the remarkable fundraising results they achieve, and what we – as creatives – have to learn from them.

 

Understanding Charity Campaigns: What Are They?

Charity campaigns are powerful efforts to drive awareness, gather support, and collect funds for different causes and social issues.

Ultimately, they’re carefully planned strategies that use branding, marketing, advocacy, and community involvement to promote a specific charitable goal.

Their main goal? To build understanding, encourage people to take action and gather widespread support to tackle important societal problems.

 

What Makes A Good – No, Excellent – Charitable Campaign?

It’s a crucial question. In the charity sector, what makes a successful campaign?

The success boils down to a few key ingredients. Here we delve into the elements that make a campaign truly stand out.

1. Gripping narratives

  • Hook. Engaging narratives that tug at the heartstrings and evoke empathy.
  • Results. People connect emotionally, making the cause more memorable and relatable.

2. Transparent goals

  • Hook. Transparent objectives that are easy to understand and achievable. Not to mention honest.
  • Results. Donors feel confident in their contribution, knowing the tangible impact they can make and feeling inspired to make a positive difference.

3. Compelling visuals

  • Hook. Striking images, videos or infographics that tell a story visually.
  • Results. Increased visibility and shareability on social media, expanding the campaign’s reach.

4. Transparency and accountability

  • Hook. Open communication about how funds will be used and regular updates on progress.
  • Results. Builds trust, reassures donors, and encourages long-term support. Trust is everything in the charity sector.

5. Social proof

  • Hook. Showcasing testimonials, success stories, or endorsements.
  • Results. Validates the impact of the charity, inspiring confidence in potential donors.

6. Urgency

  • Hook. Creating a sense of urgency or tying the campaign to a specific time frame.
  • Results. Encourages immediate action. Encouraging donors to act now.

 

Charitable Triumphs: The Success Stories

Freedom From Torture – Real Voices Blog Series

Personal and insightful, this powerful awareness campaign makes a real difference by sharing the true stories of people who have survived torture – sharing how these individuals rebuild their lives after going through such difficult experiences. It also shares the expertise of professionals who help them get there, accounts which reinforce the collective nature of rehabilitation.

Whether it’s gardening, singing, self-expression or education, these stories provide real hope for the future.

The campaign not only asks for those who cause harm to be held accountable but also calls for changes in government policies to help those who are vulnerable.

By sharing personal, authentic stories, the campaign helps readers connect emotionally with the cause.

The impact? Over 100,000 people in the UK have been inspired by stories like these to join the movement and support victims of torture.

A hugely powerful campaign that calls for social change while providing very tangible support for survivors. Brilliant.

Beat Eating Disorders – Raising Awareness On Calories

We love this campaign. Why? Because it doesn’t shy away from addressing a critical and often sensitive aspect of eating disorders – calories.

To support those suffering from eating disorders, Beat has long campaigned against calorie displays on menus.

By tackling this issue head-on, it demonstrates a commitment to breaking down stigmas and fostering open conversations around a topic that many find challenging to discuss

In England, the UK government introduced a law requiring large food and drink businesses to include calorie information on menus. But little evidence exists showing that this encourages healthy eating.

In fact, Beat has found that calorie labelling can be harmful. Not just for those suffering from eating disorders but for those who have recovered as well. Ultimately, the published information promotes calorie counting. It can also exaggerate obsessions and worries – completely taking the joy out of food.

In Scotland and Wales, Beat is working to discourage the addition of calories to menus. A public letter-writing campaign is being run by the group to get the public to share their thoughts on calorie labelling.

This campaign not only effectively engages the public but encourages them to use their voice for a good cause. Kudos to Beat for leading the charge on such a crucial issue!

Prostate Cancer UK – #OdeToDads Video

With this impactful Father’s Day video campaign, Prostate Cancer UK encourages the public to donate to its research into a screening program that could save thousands of men’s lives.

Tapping into the universal love of fatherhood, this video captures poignant home videos of fathers, reminding people what they’d miss without their own loved ones.

By leveraging the love people have for their own fathers, this campaign not only raises awareness about prostate cancer but does so in a way that deeply connects with the audience on a personal level.

With its strong emotional appeal and relatable content, this campaign highlights the simple, everyday moments that make us who we are. Together with a strategic social media campaign encouraging people to share their own memories with a hashtag, #OdeToDads, the campaign encourages viewers to become part of the solution of helping fund early diagnosis research.

This campaign is a testament to the power of storytelling and empathy.

Shelter – Brave Face Video

Few campaigns have hit home quite like this one. Shelter’s 2022 Christmas campaign, Brave Face, is a powerful call to action.

This campaign isn’t just about shedding light on homelessness; it’s about breaking down the misconceptions surrounding it. Brave Face challenges us to recognise that we can never truly understand the struggles someone else is going through.

The film unveils a harsh reality – that 119,500 British children will wake up on Christmas Day in less-than-ideal, temporary accommodations. But this revelation isn’t immediate; it’s a gradual build-up that hits viewers with the heartbreaking truth. Young Jayden, who has bravely faced a series of unfortunate events, will be spending Christmas in temporary housing.

Shelter’s campaign uses storytelling as a powerful tool, delivering a raw portrayal of what it’s like to be homeless at Christmas through the innocent eyes of a child.

It’s commendable to see Shelter take a bold approach, urging viewers to join in and contribute to a crucial cause at Christmas. This is an excellent example of a fundraising campaign that puts heart and human well-being above all else. Extremely powerful stuff.

Greenpeace Netherlands – Plastic Is Back

Single-use plastic: a known environmental menace.

Enter Greenpeace Netherlands, who are encouraging supporters to join the fight against single-use plastic in a unique way. They’ve created a ‘vintage’ online shop, featuring a collection of plastic items from different time periods, all surprisingly still intact.

From yoghurt pots to bleach bottles and ice cream tubs to crisp packets, every item in this collection was rescued from real beaches, some drifting in the ocean for over 50 years, according to Greenpeace. The charity employs retro fonts and vintage packaging designs to vividly illustrate the prolonged lifespan of plastic.

Named ‘Plastic is Back,’ the campaign serves as a powerful reminder of the harsh reality of plastic pollution. It’s a crucial part of Greenpeace’s larger effort against plastic pollution.

The choice of words, ‘It’s Back,’ carries a strong message, highlighting the sad truth that plastic never truly disappears. This campaign urges us to face the ongoing threat posed by this persistent environmental problem.

Crisis – Homelessness Can’t Be Ignored

This one really impressed us. Crisis’ impactful campaign is not just a powerful example of storytelling; it’s a rallying cry we can’t afford to ignore.

In the face of a mounting cost of living crisis and the economic and social fallout of the pandemic, homelessness is surging, demanding our urgent attention.

At the heart of Crisis’ multi-platform campaign is a giant human sculpture named Alex. A powerful example of impactful storytelling in action, unlike more traditional TV adverts, Alex can’t be ignored.

This giant, life-like sculpture represents real people who have experienced homelessness, forcing us to confront the issue head-on. Designed to stop people in their tracks, Alex is a visual reminder that we can no longer turn a blind eye to the struggles faced by those without a home.

Crisis also shared real-life stories of individuals who have experienced homelessness across YouTube. By making the issue personal and unavoidable, this campaign demands our attention in a way that’s both straightforward and engaging.

CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)– The Last Photo

In 2022, registered charity CALM launched a powerful nationwide suicide prevention initiative called The Last Photo. The campaign placed 50 6.5-foot-high smiling portraits in central London.

This was supported by a TV ad sharing a series of real home videos, which seem to show apparently happy people in their everyday lives, but turn out to be the last digital memories of people who later died by suicide.

This unfiltered footage challenges the narrative surrounding suicide. Ultimately, it serves as a poignant reminder that we can never truly discern the struggles someone hides behind a smile.

Most importantly, this campaign:

  • Kickstarts necessary conversations around mental health
  • Provides practical advice on recognising signs of suicidal behaviour
  • Has universal, emotional relevance
  • Inspires a collective commitment to supporting one another through the challenges many individuals face

A hugely impactful campaign from CALM.

WWF – Adopt an Animal

This great campaign aligns perfectly with WWF’s mission. It encourages people of all ages to adopt an animal, giving everyone a hands-on way to help wildlife.

When you adopt, you get a special kit that lets you connect with your chosen animal and learn about its life. Not to mention the conservation challenges it faces.

WWF excels in transparency, clearly delineating how the funds will be deployed. This not only bolsters the campaign’s credibility but also fosters trust in the organisation.

The campaign has a simple message and asks people to do something important. It doesn’t just support WWF’s charitable goals; it also inspires young people to care about conservation.

It brings together a group of people who are all dedicated to protecting the Earth’s amazing variety of life – and for that reason, we think it’s great.

Women’s Aid – He’s Coming Home

This campaign by Women’s Aid is a great example of effectively shifting the narrative to highlight a crucial cause. They leveraged the excitement of the World Cup to make a real difference.

Women’s Aid is a charity in the UK that works to make people aware of domestic abuse and provides help for women who are affected. They found that during big international football tournaments, there could be a 38% increase in domestic violence. Football itself doesn’t cause abuse, but things like more drinking and strong emotions during games can make existing problems worse.

Timing was everything with this campaign, which launched just after England played against the USA in the 2014 World Cup and on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The campaign saw eye-catching visuals and the slogan ‘He’s Coming Home’ displayed on billboards in high-traffic locations across the country, complemented by a powerful short film.

An excellent example of how a simple yet harrowing slogan, ‘He’s Coming Home,’ can galvanise support for a vital cause, we love this campaign.

Importantly, it received national attention and got people millions of people talking on social media, with 14.9 million views on TikTok alone.

This powerful campaign reminds us to come together and do something to stop abuse. A truly chilling, impactful and superb call to action.

Pregnant Then Screwed – March Of The Mummies

What a brilliant name for a campaign. Our interest was instantly piqued.

Pregnant Then Screwed is a charity dedicated to ending maternity discrimination against women. They work tirelessly to pass new legislation. They demand governmental change. They provide support and assistance to pregnant women. They improve parity between men and women and also highlight the very real discrimination women and mothers face in the workplace.

Don’t believe maternity discrimination exists? Consider this: 54,000 women annually lose their jobs simply because they’re pregnant in England and Wales. Plus, 390,000 working mums experience negative and potentially discriminatory treatment at work each year.

In 2022, the charity organised the March Of The Mummies. This was a Halloween-themed national protest that demanded three things:

  1. Childcare
  2. Parental leave
  3. Flexible working

The results were incredible. Over 15,000 families protested across 11 cities. Plus, PTS secured extensive media coverage, over a million in support for the women they champion and provided free legal advice and support to 70,000 women.

Combining advocacy with action, this campaign was a huge success. We really do love to see it.

 

We’re Here To Help

Strong branding matters. Especially in the competitive charity sector.

We understand the unique challenges of balancing creativity, empathy, and strategic goals. Whether you want to refresh your branding or create engaging campaigns, we’re here to help.

A passion for creating positive change drives us, we’d love to add a spark of creativity to your charitable cause. Get in touch today to discuss how we can help.

further reading
Skip to content