How The Children Society's Tough n Buff campaign could have wider appeal

The Children's Society kicks off 2016 with an awareness-raising fitness campaign but it's one which could benefit others in the sector thanks to its digital delivery.

What is it

With the New Year comes the healthy resolutions. As ever, there has been a plethora of post-festive detox schemes, booze-free marathons as well as the inevitable get yourself fitter campaigns. Tough n Buff from The Children’s Society is one of the latter, so why should we pay extra attention?

Well, the charity has teamed up with digital experts Positive to create a 30-day sponsored fitness challenge designed to enable supporters to pick an exercise plan and ask friends and family to sponsor them - or challenge them to take part too. The exercises were chosen to cater for all levels of fitness and can be done at home with no equipment necessary.

So far, so unremarkable but the difference from the charity’s point of view was the collaboration with Justgiving. Tough n Buff  is the only campaign using the JustGiving module that Positive’s development team created for Drupal CMS, using JustGiving’s APIs, and which has now been released for others to take advantage of. This was important for both partners as Mike Jenkins, managing director at Positive, confirmed.

"One of the key objectives of this campaign was to develop a platform that could be re-used and that would keep fundraisers engaged throughout the one-month Tough n Buff process," Jenkins told Third Sector.

"We responded by creating and releasing a new Drupal module that uses JustGiving’s APIs. This was a bespoke solution but now means that any charity can use this module and with these APIs for their own fundraising campaigns."

tough n buff

What else?

The campaign is actually a relaunch; in July 2015 the Children’s Society carried out a pilot to test the waters. It found the campaign resonated better with a female audience so the focus of the 2016 campaign shifted primarily towards 18–34 year old women. To help promote the campaign, the charity recruited celebrity fitness trainer Sarah Maxwell who has filmed a series of ‘how-to’ exercise videos as well as writing blogs and promoting via social media.

What the charity says

Rachel Pilkington from The Children’s Society said the partnership enabled simpler registration for supporters.

"We worked with JustGiving to create a bespoke campaign registration site that integrated with JustGiving and Facebook," she said. "This makes registration as effortless as possible and lets supporters connect their fundraising directly with Facebook so that they can share updates on their progress."

How successful has it been?

After the first week more than 1,500 people had signed up to take part in Tough n Buff with the charity expecting further sign ups. The campaign is about raising money for some of the UK’s most vulnerable children but also about introducing new supporters to The Children’s Society and engaging them through "a fun, collective fundraising experience".

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