Behaviour-led creative boosts UK charity’s fundraising by 1700%
At the 2022 blue dot festival, Eat Well Manchester raised £300 to support its mission to combat food poverty across the city. When every pound helps provide a meal for those in most need, that was a very valuable outcome. For the 2023 event, we worked with the charity on new, behaviourally optimised messaging, creative and fundraising mechanisms. This time, donations topped £5,000, an increase of more than 1700% on the year before. Let’s explore how we did it.
An essential need
As the cost-of-living crisis escalates, food poverty has become a growing emergency in the UK. 1 in 6 households are now ‘food insecure’, and the UK’s national rate of food poverty is among the worst in Europe. In parallel, more and more homeless and at-risk children and adults are living on UK streets, or in shelters, where food poverty is a particular risk. In the absence of adequate state provision, more and more foodbanks and charitable organisations are trying to meet the increasing need.
‘Meals for Manchester’ (MfM) is one such programme. It delivers up to 1,000 meals daily to the many adults and children facing food poverty in Greater Manchester’s hostels, refuges, hospitals and homeless shelters. Delivered by the not-for-profit Eat Well Manchester, MfM uses direct fundraising, and the donated time of restaurants and chefs, to create nutritious meals for those in most need.
A real opportunity
Our Chair John Drummond saw the charity fundraising at the 2022 bluedot music and science festival (held annually at the Jodrell Bank observatory in Cheshire) and was inspired by its goals and its passion. He also saw an opportunity for Eat Well Manchester to go even further, with a more behaviourally optimised and strategic approach to messaging and design. He reached out to the charity to offer CCG’s services pro bono.
From the outset of our work with Eat Well Manchester, we took a behaviour-led creative approach. That is, we used the latest behavioural science insights to shape the creative process, and design outputs so they are in tune with how people actually think, process information and make decisions, both consciously and non-consciously.
For fundraising at bluedot, we explored how people would best engage with donation messaging and mechanisms at bars and food vendors during a festival experience.
A behaviour-led solution
The primary goal with all behaviour-led creative is to make the desired behaviour easier to adopt. This includes:
- removing barriers and friction points through having simple, smart donation mechanisms at the point of action;
- reflecting the multiple contexts of the decision (e.g., the physical and social context of the gathering, its emotional and cultural context etc.);
- using engaging, benefits-led messaging and clear, repeated calls to action; and
- bringing it to life with friendly, clear and simple creative design that understands how people think and choose to act, and visualises what we want them to do.
For MfM at bluedot 2023, the required behaviour was simply to donate £1 with every food or drinks order at one of the festivals’ vendors. The donation amount was a strategic decision, reducing it from a £2 ask at previous events to further reduce barriers to action. We tailored both the messaging, look and feel and mechanisms to serve this desired behaviour.
A clear ask
A multi-disciplinary CCG team assembled to take up the challenge, with the creative department joined by behavioural scientist Andrew Drummond and project director Amy Burgess. We began with messaging and creative framing that expanded upon the pre-existing core message to “Give £1 a round”. The copy simply and succinctly communicated the mechanism of donation, and the big benefit from donating a small sum, namely helping to provide a nutritious meal to those most in need.
We then created a core device and visual language that brought to life tailored variations of this call to action in a friendly, engaging way, which used the existing campaign font and colours, and which could work well at all scales. We mapped the creative to a range of touchpoints (from hoardings to screens to bar-top standees) that followed festivalgoers’ journeys from arrival on-site to purchasing food and drinks. The messaging and design of each output was tuned to the behavioural context in which it would be experienced.
For example, when people are queuing to order at a vendor, their cognitive load is comparatively low, so messaging could be slightly more in-depth and signpost them to scan a QR code to donate £1 while they waited. Whereas, while stood at the bar mid-order, cognitive load is much higher, so the messaging and channels were simpler, to avoid overload. The animation, running on the stage screens, provided a periodic prompt between acts, especially as these were the times when the audience was most likely to seek refreshments.
A remarkable success
Our lovely creative ably supported some stellar headline acts at blue dot, and was highly visible across the festival area, especially at and in the vicinity of vendors. The outcome of this behaviourally optimised approach speaks for itself…
At the previous year’s blue dot festival, Eat Well Manchester raised £300 for the MfM programme. With our new, behaviourally optimised approach for 2023, the charity raised more than £5,000. That total was also achieved despite the event being cut short by torrential rain. What’s more, our creative was trialled at Manchester’s Parklife 2023 festival a few weeks prior to blue dot, where it helped to raise a further £3,000 (generously match-funded by the event).
Our client, Kathleen O’Connor of Eat Well Manchester, expressed it best:
“I’m constantly blown away by the support we get from people willing to give up their time and put their faith in what we do. Corporate Culture Group offered to help with messaging in the hope we might increase the donations festivalgoers made at bars and food vendors during the festival. The result was unbelievably brilliant, with over £5,000 of additional donations directly attributable to their work. We now have a model that we can replicate at other festivals and events too. This money funds meals for people in need in Manchester and we absolutely couldn’t have done it without their generous support and brilliant expertise.”
Seeing the uplift in fundraising at the 2023 events was hugely rewarding, and we hope that with further refinements (and better weather!) we can drive that total even higher in 2024 and beyond.
An offer of help
If you’d like a little support in creating behaviour-led communications for your audiences – whether to drive up fundraising or engage people in other positive behaviours – we’re here to help. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org
And of course, it’s never too late to help those most in need. So, if you’d like to donate just £1 to help buy a nutritious meal for someone at risk of food poverty, just head over to Eat Well Manchester’s fundraising page here. Many thanks.