Case Study: Refuge

The domestic violence charity launched a social media campaign to raise awareness of the signs of domestic abuse and ways of helping sufferers


Refuge, the domestic violence charity, began its first social media campaign in August to inform people about the prevalence of abuse at home.

Previous Refuge campaigns had focused on using traditional forms of media to encourage women to speak out about domestic violence.

"One of the main bits of feedback we got from women was that domestic violence also had an impact on their friends and family," says Lisa King, director of communications at the charity. "So we thought it would be useful to help them understand more about the subject and ways of broaching it."

The campaign was created by a digital agency, Code Computerlove, on a pro bono basis and ran as a joint campaign with the cosmetics company Avon, which has been a corporate partner of Refuge for three years.

Its name - 1 in 4 - conveys the scale of abuse. A microsite was created to provide details of the signs of domestic abuse and ways of helping sufferers.

King says the pink-coloured microsite was designed to feel "warm and welcoming" and convey the message that abuse can be overcome with the right support.

One of the main features of the campaign was a Facebook app that allows people to calculate the number of their Facebook friends who are likely to have been the victims of domestic violence.

Celebrities helped to promote the campaign when it began. The comedian Stephen Fry tweeted about it and there were messages of support from the newsreader Fiona Bruce, the singer Mica Paris and the radio presenter Lauren Laverne. Refuge also promoted the campaign on its own fledgling Facebook and Twitter accounts.

It had previously had a minimal presence on both sites, but King says its Facebook following has increased from 120 to 1,250 and its Twitter following has gone up from 1,400 to 1,900 since the campaign started, so it has in effect launched the charity's social media presence.

Refuge will promote the campaign in the run-up to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November. King says the campaign cost the charity, which has 160 staff, about £8,000. She says the intensive six-week planning phase taught her that charities should not underestimate the technical challenges of Facebook campaigns, such as ensuring they work on different browsers.

EXPERT VIEW - Ben Matthews, Founding director, Bright One

Ben Matthews, Founding director, Bright OneThis is a great example of how tight Facebook integration for your campaign can make the cause highly personal and create a bigger impact.

Personalising the campaign to involve friends of those trying out the app makes the message hit home much harder. By adding in the ability to share the app, the campaign message spreads even further.

By using celebrities, the charity is raising awareness of the campaign, but is also demonstrating that domestic violence is something that affects us all. One minor point to improve on, I would suggest, is the Facebook 'Like' element: why would I want to 'like' only this campaign rather than Refuge as a whole?

Once this campaign is over, Refuge doesn't want to lose those extra fans it has made and it should be thinking about ways of growing its community in the long term.


Creativity: 5

Delivery: 4

Total: 9 out of 10.

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