Case study: The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

The animal charity's Dodo video was designed to inspire a new generation of donors

The Lonely Dodo
The Lonely Dodo

Organisation: The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

Campaign: The Lonely Dodo

Agency: The Frameworks

The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust's charming video The Lonely Dodo has had nearly 270,000 hits since its launch in April.

Kelly Barker, head of marketing and commercial at the charity, says the campaign was born of the need to inspire a new generation of donors. Given a minimal budget, the most obvious way to do this was through digital, she says.

The Frameworks came up with the Dodo. "I think the loneliness aspect of the character is something people can relate to," Barker says. "I don't think we've been emotional enough in the past.

"I think we've been scared of being too hard-hitting, in case people think they cannot help. But this shows they can make a difference by supporting our mission to save species from extinction."

Stephen Fry, as the frog that narrates the video, and Alistair McGowan, as the dodo, provided their famous voices for free. The film was made by Aardman Animations, of Wallace and Gromit fame.

The campaign had a budget of £40,000, and so far has had 266,950 views, including 20,000 on the first day. It has made £1,000 in one-off donations and secured 70 regular donors, giving an average of £72 each a year. It has captured the data of a further 802 people, who it hopes will turn into regular givers.

Barker says the campaign has been almost entirely promoted online through social media networks, wildlife blogs and emails.

The charity has been inundated with requests for McGowan and Fry to take part in radio and print interviews about the campaign, Barker says, but they have not had time.

"We could have had more exposure," she says; next time, she would ask celebrity supporters to say a few words on film and in print about why they were supporting the charity.

Expert view: Grahame Darnell, Managing director, Darnell Consulting

Creatively, this campaign is strong, so you can see why it is a viral success. However, it commits a cardinal sin - the proposition and the ask are not prominent enough. For an outlay of £40,000, the results - 70 new regular donors giving an average of £72 a year - do not represent a healthy return on investment. Converting enough of the 802 new names to deliver a decent ROI will require a prominent ask and a sector-leading conversion rate. So far, it's an awareness-raising success, but not a fundraising one.

Expert rating:

Creativity: 4

Delivery: 2

Total: 5 out of 10

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