Building a virtual field of Remembrance for the Royal British Legion
The coronavirus pandemic has seen a number of annual traditions pivot to digital alternatives.
One of these traditions is the Field of Remembrance, where thousands of personal tributes are planted by members of the public up and down the UK. But in 2020, COVID-19 made big events full of people dangerous – so the Royal British Legion needed to find a safe alternative.
The Royal British Legion supports the Royal Navy, the British Army, and the Royal Air Force, as well as veterans and their families. The charity uses the lead up to 11 November as an opportunity to raise awareness of the sacrifices veterans have made in the last century, and drive donations for the army and veteran communities.
Transforming the tradition to digital
In moving the experience online, it was vital the charity didn’t lose the engagement of a physical event. Therefore, to ensure everyone could pay a personalised tribute, the platform had to offer optionality. It also had to be able to handle the scale of tributes the charity typically experiences each year. And it had to be accessible, able to be viewed by every donor so they could easily locate their tribute, and share it with friends and family to spread the word.
An interactive solution
Manifesto started with a workshop to understand the charity’s requirements, and to review the various solutions and technology available. The charity decided to use its existing donation funnel, together with the Sitefinity platform. Our team then built a new, bespoke front-end, and used Three.js technology to render complex graphics within the web browser. This includes filters and 3D interactive effects in real-time.
To give users choice, there are six symbols which can be used to mark their tribute. They can then attach a personal, written message, and an optional donation.
After the tribute is made, users are transported to the virtual field, where they can click where they want to plant their tribute. The platform also allows users to view each others’ tributes. All messages are moderated, to ensure the platform is used appropriately and respectfully.
Investing in new technology
Manifesto invested 40 hours into understanding a completely new technology, resulting in 64,720 virtual tributes for the Royal British Legion. In total, the campaign raised £94,406.80 via the virtual field.
The charity’s social and paid search channels alone raised £22,348 more than the previous year, despite spending no more over the same timeframe. Cost per response was just £7.27, compared to £48.33 just one year earlier. Whilst funds raised from organic traffic shot up from £12,780 in 2019, to £64,480 in 2020.
In addition, the charity raised a further £49,727 via the virtual field after the paid digital marketing had ended. Money that wouldn’t have otherwise been raised, without the switch to virtual.