Digital Campaign of the Week: the RSPCA's Big Christmas Feed

The charity hopes to attract new supporters and share its animal welfare message with a younger audience through a multimedia campaign that harnesses the power of print, television, radio and the internet

RSPCA: Big Christmas Feed campaign
RSPCA: Big Christmas Feed campaign

What is the campaign all about?Big Christmas Feed microsite
The RSPCA’s Big Christmas Feed campaign aims to raise awareness of the cost of caring for the 9,989 animals in the charity’s care over Christmas. The campaign has its own dedicated microsite that features a ‘meal-o-meter’ made up of dog bowls to show how much has been raised, as well as an interactive donations calculator, allowing the user to vary the amount they could donate to see how this affects the number of meals their cash would provide.

How is the campaign being promoted?For the first time in its history, the charity has launched a Facebook game that involves players trying to fill bowls of food for animated cats and dogs. The RSPCA says that "as well as using our traditional fundraising media, we wanted to tell people about the challenges the RSPCA faces at Christmas, in a way that would truly bring this to life, as well as providing a little festive cheer". It hopes its existing 316,000 Facebook fans will share the game with friends and find "an audience not traditionally targeted by the RSPCA – casual gamers". The Facebook page also allows users to donate via Facebook, maximising the game’s fundraising potential. In addition, a Twibbon campaign is running on Twitter, which asks people to add the Big Christmas Feed logo to their profile picture. This is running alongside the charity's latest 'Frontline' account, which tweets details of all calls the RSPCA has received from the public in order to highlight the number of calls it responds to each day.

What else is being done?
A hard-hitting television advert will be shown over the festive period, which can also be viewed on the RSPCA’S YouTube site. Localised radio adverts are being played throughout the UK featuring the actor Brian Blessed, who narrates the story of an abandoned and starving dog. According to the RSPCA, Blessed was chosen as he is a keen supporter of the charity and an "easily recognisable male voice".

Third Sector verdict
Catherine Cottrell, head of fundraising and supporter services at the RSPCA, says the campaign is "an example of how RSPCA fundraising is entering a new era by fully integrating offline and online communication to achieve greater resonance of our message and to reach new audiences". With the Big Christmas Feed, this is certainly the case. By utilising both digital media and traditional routes, the appeal is guaranteed wide coverage. The Flash game on Facebook is both interactive and relevant, while the television and radio adverts really drive home the seriousness of the message. The Big Christmas Feed campaign, which runs until 4 January, has raised an impressive £35,000 so far. However, the true test of its success will perhaps be if the appeal succeeds in its aim of widening the charity’s supporter base.

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