The omnichannel approach that helped homelessness charity Shelter overcome donor fatigue

8Cats Digital won the ’Best Charity/Non-Profit Campaign’ award at The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising with its Christmas campaign for Shelter. Here, we find out more about what went into this successful project.

Shelter is one of the most well-known names in the charity sector, but even with its expertise it still faces huge obstacles when it comes to achieving its aims. Around Christmas, when the needs of the people who require help are most acute, overcoming those obstacles is more important than ever.

The brief

Shelter aimed to raise £2m in cash donations around the 2021 holiday period – a simple ask on paper, but in reality an enormous challenge. 2020 had been an exceptional year for charities, but in 2021 there was a combination of charity fatigue and a cost of living crisis rearing its head. It provided an infertile environment for giving, but Shelter needed people to give more than ever.

The idea

8Cats Digital’s approach to the problem was multifaceted and predicated upon getting that simple message across in a variety of ways. As such it proposed a truly omnichannel approach to advertising, reducing the charity’s overreliance on Facebook. Instead, 8Cats advocated for paid ads across TV, YouTube, Spotify, TikTok, Nextdoor and more. In the case of the digital TV advertising, it notably reintroduced Shelter to the medium.

The issue was exacerbated by the need to be nimble, as regular updates to homeless statistics were released throughout November and December.

As with previous Shelter campaigns, much of the overall strategy was based around communicating case studies of those aided by Shelter in the past. However, working within the strictures of Shelter guidelines on how the beneficiaries of aid are portrayed in ads, 8Cats Digital advocated for a different approach. It led its creative with images of empty streets overlaid with strategically chosen stats, in addition to including selected quotes from previous beneficiaries.

The results

The omnichannel approach saw success, proving a 40% uplift in PPC and 60% on Facebook through TV executions. Shelter agreed to increase spend on TV. It reintroduced the charity to what is possible in the medium.

The campaign originally aimed to raise £2m, but at the time of its close the public had in fact given 12% more than the target amount. In addition, the campaign delivered a new record in the charity’s 55-year long historry with the highest total donations in a single day – £155,000.

Most importantly from the perspective of a charity seeking to reinvigorate the public’s charitable concerns, while comparable charities were only managing to track against 2019’s figures, the overall campaign beat that year’s total by 35%.

This project was a winner at The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising 2022. Click here to find out which of The Drum Awards are currently open for entry.