Case Study: ActionAid

The international development charity's latest digital campaign celebrates the organisation's 40th anniversary

ActionAid's 40th anniversary campaign
ActionAid's 40th anniversary campaign

As the international development charity ActionAid neared its 40th anniversary, it decided it wanted to find a way to showcase the organisation's history and raise awareness of the work it does across the world.

The charity settled on the idea of an online exhibition, hosted on its website, to tell the story of its work. It was launched in November.

Stuart Fowkes, head of PR at ActionAid UK, says: "Deciding to hold the exhibition online meant that our work would have a wider reach than if we'd done it as a physical exhibition in a gallery. And as we're part of a global federation, it's appropriate that this exhibition should have a global audience."

Before now, no one had set out to tell the ActionAid story from 1972 to the present day, so the charity's first step was to commission research in its own archives in order to establish some of the facts and reassemble the story of its earliest years, when it began with only 88 supporters.

The main feature is a shareable infographic, covering the entirety of the charity's work, which acts as the home page to the website. Visitors are then able to explore 40 multimedia stories covering the charity's five different themes: emergencies, education, child sponsorship, supporters and campaigning.

Every image, video and piece of content is shareable across Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest to urge users to spread awareness of the campaign. Visitors can also post stories about their own experiences of the charity on Facebook.

The charity has enlisted the help of its celebrity supporters, including the actors Fay Ripley, Samantha Womack and Katherine Kelly, to take part in a short film and talk about the charity's greatest achievements in its history.

It also ensured the exhibition will have longevity, says Fowkes. "We didn't want to run something that was live for only one month while we were celebrating our anniversary, and then disappeared forever.

"The exhibition will continue as a kind of 'living FAQ' about ActionAid, and we'll keep adding new stories to it in the future."

EXPERT VIEW: Vicky Reeves, managing director, Chameleon

Vicky Reeves, managing director, ChameleonAs a brand-building exercise, ActionAid's 40-year story has longevity; the charity has articulated what it does in a clear, visual way through design, typography, words and video. I don't have to try too hard to understand what the charity is about, although the infographic could be made simpler.

If social sharing was the objective of this campaign, however, ActionAid has failed to hit the mark. Social media buttons on a page are not what make people share it - emotionally engaging, inspirational content is.

The next step to make this shareable is to find the inspiration point in the stories. Infographics primarily focused on educating people about one aspect of the cause at a time - rather than the charity itself - are more likely to grab the attention of potential new supporters, while still raising the brand's profile.

Creativity: 3
Delivery: 3
Total: 6 out of 10

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