Case study: Sense

The charity decided to try using text donations for the first time last Christmas

Sense's Christmas text campaign
Sense's Christmas text campaign

Organisation: Sense
Campaign: Christmas text campaign
Agency: Watson Phillips Norman and Cymba

For its annual Christmas TV appeal in 2011, Sense, which supports children and adults who are deafblind, decided to ask people to give by text message for the first time.

The TV advert showed a deafblind boy called Elliot and the difference that sensory toys can make for children like him. At the end, it asked people to text a number to give £3 to the charity, which could go towards buying one of these toys.

The adverts were shown between 19 December and 4 January. The charity has since started to call back people who gave by text to ask if they want to set up regular donations.

Andrea Jones, head of direct marketing at Sense, said the charity was still receiving text donations at the start of February. She said it had spent £80,000 on the entire campaign.

The charity had aimed to get 7,552 text donations, according to Jones, but it had already received more than 240 per cent of the target figure so far. She was unable to confirm how much the charity had raised, but it had originally set a target of £105,000 for the entire campaign.

People were also giving through the charity's website, she said, even though the advert had not called for this.


Chris Arnold, Creative partner, Creative Orchestra

Chris Arnold, Creative partner, Creative OrchestraText donations are certainly a way forward for fundraising: it's easy, impulsive and, as our lives revolve more around mobile phones, it is becoming the centre of fundraising marketing. But you still need a powerful idea to get people to act en masse.

This ad uses a classic direct response TV formula, and it works. But consumers are inundated with messages and appeals at Christmas - if they had added more of a creative idea, it could have doubled donations. For me, it's a missed opportunity.


Creativity: 2
Delivery: 4
6 out of 10

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