Is Coronavirus stealing everyone’s attention?

With the Covid-19 crisis escalating worldwide, we thought it would be interesting to see whether the intense focus on this particular pandemic is affecting the attention that other global issues receive. What impact has it had on other charities, especially those that work in non health-related fields? Have people stopped talking about climate change, poverty and famine? Does anyone even remember the pre-Christmas wildfires in Australia, which seemed to be the only thing people were talking about online for weeks?

We plugged a host of keywords into a social listening tool to see what we could find out. Some interesting things emerged – some expected, some less so.

Coronavirus is the hot topic, but for how long?

Unsurprisingly, online chat about coronavirus has shot up since the end of February. At its peak, over 12-13 March, there were around 35 million mentions of it online. However, there has been a dip in the couple of days since. Will we get to a stage where people are bored of talking about it? All jokes will have been rinsed, all pictures of empty supermarket shelves and disinformation about people with coronavirus not being able to see the moon shared to the point of inanity.

Compare this to the 2019-20 wildfires in Australia, which killed 34 humans and an estimated one billion animals. The online chat hit a first peak in late August, with over two million mentions per day, and then a second peak in December with 1.5 million. In the last two months it has stayed steady at half a million mentions a day.

This has not had much impact on other disaster topics

More surprisingly, the new focus on coronavirus has not coincided with much of a dip in discussions about other global issues. People are still talking about climate change, refugees, poverty, and cancer. Mentions of these issues have only dipped by 2% since the end of February compared to the four months prior.

This has had an impact on large charities

While people are still talking about global issues more broadly, they are talking less about the large charities that tackle them. Chat about Greenpeace, Cancer Research UK, UNICEF, WWF and more has decreased by 28% since coronavirus started consuming all media output. Mentions of charity, fundraising, donations, and non-profits have also decreased by 11% since the end of February.

So to some extent, the intense focus on coronavirus has impacted on the attention that unrelated charities are receiving. It remains to be seen whether those charities notice a dip in income, although those that rely heavily on events or footfall in shops for their fundraising will almost certainly be the hardest hit.

For now, coronavirus is, of course, dominating global debate. How long that lasts for is unknown, but it is encouraging for engagers and fundraisers in non-profits around the world alike to see that other important global issues are not going unnoticed, at least for the timebeing. 

48 hours to build the most awesome digital campaign the world has ever seen

Following the success of our innovative and highly-rated hothouse session in Amsterdam last year, we are returning to the IFC in October with a masterclass running along the same lines.

Put simply, we are giving ourselves – and the delegates – 48 hours to build the most awesome digital campaign the world has ever seen.

We’ll start off by sharing the creative principles and successful studies from causes that have engaged support and raised real money online. We’ll then hand over to the delegates to work in groups to create campaigns around a brief they help to create.

As well as the speakers’ expertise, delegates will have access to virtual support from THINK’s specialist digital designers, online influencer researchers and social media marketing experts – all working remotely to build the awesome digital campaigns.

Working as a group to tight timescales, delegates will also be exposed to some of the theory and practices of agile working that will give an insight into the culture required to be a successful digital team.

Finally, the groups will feed back on their work to see if we really have produced the most awesome digital campaign the world has ever seen.

From this masterclass delegates will learn:

  • How to creatively build a digital campaign from scratch
  • How to work as a team in a very short time to agile working methodologies – so gaining insights into successful digital culture and working practices
  • How to plan a multi-faceted digitally-led campaign

If this all sounds good to you, then join us at IFC 2018!

Creating Winning Digital Campaigns – A ‘hothouse’ session at IFC 2017

As part of this year’s International Fundraising Conference, Derek Humphries from DTV and I led a ‘hothouse’ session on how to create winning digital campaigns.

We wanted to try something a little bit different from your usual conference fare, and so we decided to invite the attendees to create and present a complete digital campaign. Utilising the wider THINK Digital team – labouring away remotely from the UK – the groups put together campaign copy, imagery, landing pages, influencer outreach, and audience profiles – and all in just three hours – before presenting their campaigns back to the wider group.

We were really pleased with the results. Groups representing notional charities Disaster Response International, Enough For All, Orangutans Forever, and The Freedom Campaign respectively were able to pull together compelling, forward-thinking digital campaigns within the space of a few short hours.

  • Disaster Response International focused on an emergency which had just hit Costa Rica. They needed to raise money from around the world quickly in order to provide relief on the ground. They pulled in influencers such as Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, and used Facebook profiling to target retired grandparents in the US and Spanish-speaking countries.
  • Enough For All produced a campaign focusing on Ramadan. Through Facebook advertising they targeted Muslim mums with young children and disposable income, and planned to bring on board influential activists such as Dr Basel Abuwarda and Refaat Esque.
  • Orangutans Forever centred their campaign on saving a piece of land to avoid Derek the Orangutan losing his home. They went beyond targeting influential naturalists and environmental activists, to try to reach more leftfield options, such as Planet of the Ape star Woody Harrelson. Through Facebook audience profiling they targeted wealthy outdoors-loving individuals – those into cycling and trekking, and those in professions such as banking and medicine.
  • The Freedom Campaign focused on Amal Clooney’s campaigning to free her cousin who had been wrongly imprisoned in Nigeria. Through Facebook advertising they targeted young activists in the US, Bernie Sanders fans, CND members and followers of the human rights movement. Their influencers included celebrities such as Adele and Madonna.

It was a fantastic experience creating these campaigns in such a short period of time. Beyond this, the session proved how effective international working can be – the remote THINK Digital team were able to put together the campaigns in real-time, making the ideas and imaginations of the session attendees a reality.

Watch this space for details of similar sessions at conferences next year.

Capturing live content to enhance donations

This week I’m in Oslo, working from the Homeless World Cup annual tournament, capturing live content to enhance fundraising opportunities.

The Homeless World Cup brings together teams of people from over 50 countries who have experienced homelessness in the past year. They compete over the course of a week in a series of football matches culminating in finals on the last day.

Being here has given me the opportunity to watch the games, see how sport brings people together and gives them something to strive towards. It has meant that I can speak to the players and hear their stories, capture them on video, and use this live content to drive donations.

Through a mixture of YouTube content, scripts for commentators and celebs (Michael Sheen), Facebook boosted posts, and Facebook ads to specific target countries and audiences based on who is playing we’ve been driving people to a donation page. The content on this has been updated throughout the week based on people I’ve met and the stories they’ve shared.

Working from the tournament has also enabled me to see the correlation between donations and people who are in the stands watching the matches first-hand. For example, when Sweden play, I can immediately see donations coming through in Swedish krona.

While of course in the world of digital, it’s possible to do all of this work remotely and be capturing content and monitoring results from afar, being here has really brought the tournament to life and has meant that I’ve been fully absorbed in the atmosphere and the stories which has enhanced the content I’m using to generate donations.