Hughes PR, Marketing, Public relations, Social media

Loud and clear: fundraising campaigns that work

Natalie Ciccocioppo writes…

From Oprah to Mark Zuckerberg, Jamie Oliver to David Beckham, Gwyneth Paltrow to Mark Wahlberg, then extending to your neighbours, workmates and friends, about a month ago, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was literally everywhere.

Mainstream media and social media was awash (see what I did there) with people taking on the challenge – to dump a bucket of icy cold water over their heads and nominate their friends to do the same – raising awareness for a debilitating illness that had previously not garnered a lot of publicity or widespread public thought.

As a direct result of the Ice Bucket Challenge, more than $100 million has been raised for ALS or as we know it here in Australia, Motor Neurone Disease.

There’s little doubt the Ice Bucket Challenge has been an incredibly successful campaign. This article in The Age outlines some of the reasons why the Ice Bucket Challenge cut through and went viral.

Health and cause-related fundraising isn’t new. For many years, various charities have been encouraging the community to take on a range of activities to support their fundraising efforts.

I remember taking part in the World Vision 40 Hour Famine – a popular fundraising initiative when I was in school. Going without food for 40 hours seemed like a real struggle at the time, but served as an important reminder to my 13-year-old self about children of the same age around the world living in poverty and dying as a result of malnutrition and hunger-related illnesses.

In those days, fundraising efforts involved pestering encouraging teachers, classmates, friends and family to sponsor you, and then running around and collecting money in an envelope, which you’d then exchange for a money voucher or cheque, and send off in the post to the designated charity.

Digital and social media has added a new dimension to the rise of cause-related marketing. A successful viral campaign like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge wouldn’t have been able to reach the sheer volume of users that it did prior to social media.

The advent of digital communications means that we can share updates with our Facebook friends, LinkedIn contacts, Twitter and Instagram followers, and invite them to pledge their support as we take on fundraising activities, and they can directly donate using their credit card online within seconds.

Movember, which raises funds and awareness of men’s health, is another example of cause-related fundraising done well. I lose count of the ‘mo’ updates I see on my Facebook News Feed every November! And it’s not always about asking for money – participants, or as Movember Australia calls them ‘Mo Bros’, are regularly posting photos of their moustache styling, opening themselves up for admiration (or sometimes ridicule) from their friends.

A simple fundraising idea, such as the Ice Bucket Challenge or Movember, that invites people to take action for a cause, can result in a globally successful campaign.

The calendar year is full of fundraising initiatives. In October alone, there’s Girls Night In, Walktober, Frocktober, Octsober, Adelaide Stair Climb, and Buy Nothing New Month, which all invite people to ‘do something’ for a cause.

To cut through the noise, cause marketing ideas need to:

  • Ask participants to challenge themselves or do something fun and visual, to provide a story that they can share with their friends;
  • Relate back to the cause;
  • Have a strong social media engagement element;
  • Share compelling stories of those they support to encourage others to support the cause.

Here at Hughes PR, we are committed to supporting the community. We have several not-for-profit clients that we provide our professional services to on a discounted or ‘no fee’ basis.

We also take part in fundraising events where we can. Over the past few years, our team has helped out at McDonald’s restaurants for McHappy Day, taken part in the JDRF Spin for a Cure, Hutt Street Centre Walk a Mile in My Boots, Jeans for Genes Day, Vinnies CEO Sleepout, OCRF White Shirt Day and worn red to work for Red Nose Day.

Today we are taking part in Loud Shirt Day – proudly wearing our loudest clothing to work to raise funds for First Voice to help give the gift of sound and speech to deaf children.

Who do you think is wearing the best loud shirt? What fundraising initiatives do you take part in?

loud shirt day 2

Hughes PR

Igniting the “spark” with corporate team building activities

Maddie Angel writes…city scramble

Even though the Hughes PR office culture ensures that we have a lot of fun while working hard for our clients, sometimes it’s important for us to get out of the office into a new environment, and get stuck into something completely different.

We have a small team here at Hughes PR – a dozen of us work day to day in our offices in Rundle Street. Therefore a unified team of employees is very important to the success of our business. This quote from Inc. Magazine sums up why small businesses find high-performing teams critical: “people must work closely together, wear many hats and work effectively across the organisation to get tasks accomplished quickly enough to remain competitive.”

Because teamwork is so critical to our business’ success, team building activities are a great way to “spark” and grow our team: they allow us to get to know each other outside of the “daily grind” and work on unique challenges – often exposing each other’s strengths and weaknesses!

Way back in 2010 we made our way down to Port Adelaide to the studio of artist Mark Lobert. After a Pink Hummer ride to Port Adelaide we arrived at the gallery – where we intended to release our inner Monet and van Gogh! After Mark introduced himself and showed us some of his beautiful paintings we were asked to create a collaborative painting: start with one colour, pass the canvas onto the person next to us for them to then add to it, and repeat three times before putting it down to dry.

Mark then separated the group into two and placed large canvases on the work benches. We were then to put our creative minds together and paint something spectacular that we could bring back to the office. One team painted an abstract piece with colours of red, orange, yellow, pink and white, while the other team painted Rundle Street with a beautiful red sky, the buildings which line the street and the car lights.

The next task for the day was to create our own canvas. There were a few blank looks but once the paint was down there was no stopping us. I have to admit that I am not the most creative type and my painting resembles something that a two year old would be pleased with – but it was fun, and that’s the main thing!

With all the painting done for the day it was time to head back to Rundle Street – but not before Tim got distracted and purchased a beautiful red sculpture for our office space.

The ride back to the city was certainly louder than on the way there, we had found the Hummer’s karaoke machine and were all belting out our favourite songs! This Fun Friday was one we all remember and is certainly a talking point with all our paintings now hanging proudly in the office.

In 2013 we all piled into a stretch limo and made our way up to Stirling to spend the day at Sticky Rice Cooking School. What better way to get to know each other than by preparing a meal together? As we sliced, diced and chopped, we got to share our “kitchen personalities” – some of us were more comfortable with it than others! Of course, the best part was sharing a delicious meal together at the end of it. I would highly recommend this team building activity – it was great fun.

This year we worked with City Scramble to put together a team building exercise with a difference – a scavenger hunt throughout the city. It was interesting to see how nervous everyone was at first about the challenges that were put to us, but it took all of about 30 seconds for us to shake that off and for the competitive edge to kick in!

What was interesting about the City Scramble was the way in which it well and truly bought us out of our comfort zones – but with a great result. Many of the challenges required cooperation from the general public. Kieran and Mark commented after the event that they were surprised at how easy it was to ask people for assistance once they were armed with the confidence and purpose of the competition.

City Scramble also showed us the importance of strategy, prioritisation of tasks, and required a lot of problem solving.

The Scramble was then followed by a delicious lunch. It is such a great way to get to know each other away from the office and have plenty of laughs that always last well after the usual knock off time.

We’re always looking for great ideas for our next team building day. Let us know in the comments – have you ever participated in a team building day? Any recommendations for us for next time?

Hughes Public Relations, based in Adelaide, South Australia, is a communications and PR consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.