Whilst the nation has been gripped by The Archers’ domestic violence storyline, which came to a dramatic head on Sunday, those of us in the charity sector have been gripped by how Refuge has handled the Helen Titchener Fund campaign on social media.
Archers’ fan, Paul Trueman set up the JustGiving page with an original target of just £1,000 back in February to raise money for Refuge because "For every fictional Helen, there are real ones." The page hit £3,000 in just 18 hours and hit £100,000 on Tuesday 5 April.
It’s every charity’s dream to have a supporter like Paul, however there are two choices you can make when something like this happens: say ‘thank you’ and let the fundraiser do their own thing or throw your all into making the campaign as successful as it can be, as well as raising awareness of your cause. Refuge has certainly done the latter and it’s paying off. So what can we learn from Refuge?
Get involved in conversations
It would be easy to just broadcast to people using the #TheArchers hashtag or tweet the odd tweet every now and again, but Refuge has helped start conversations as well as signposting people to services.
Remind people why their donation matters
It’s sometimes very easy to get swept up in the momentum of a snowballing campaign but it’s important to keep reminding people why their donation matters and how it will help. Refuge has been sharing very emotional and poignant comments from the JustGiving Page to bring home the prevalence of domestic abuse in its many guises.
This means Refuge can continue to support 3,700 women and children on any given day. It will empower more people experiencing abuse.— Refuge (@RefugeCharity) March 31, 2016
Spread your wings beyond social
This campaign has had so much press coverage – from The Guardian to BBC Woman’s Hour. The charity has not shied away from the media but rather taken advantage of the opportunity to reach more people. When Refuge’s CEO Sandra Horley CBE was on Woman’s Hour, the charity live-tweeted the interview.
For a campaign to be truly successful, it needs to move beyond social media. It’s important to remember that social media is just one channel so take advantage of it but don’t neglect the others.
Don’t try to own the campaign
As with #nomakeupselfie and #icebucketchallenge, this campaign was started by a supporter and it’s vital that charities that are the recipient of this kind of support recognise that and don’t try to claim it as their own. Refuge has constantly referred to the campaign as Paul’s and has also retweeted him on numerous occasions. This is fundraising at its best – when supporters and charities work in unison.
Say ‘thank you’ often
There is nothing worse than a charity that doesn’t say ‘thank you’. When a campaign starts to gain momentum, it’s imperative to keep people up-to-date on the milestones and also to keep saying ‘thank you’. Refuge has repeatedly thanked supporters and Paul and shared the important milestones along the way. It will be interesting to see how many go on to become regular donors.
The overwhelming support from the public and #thearchers fans means those experiencing abuse know they're not alone. THANK YOU from Refuge x— Refuge (@RefugeCharity) March 31, 2016
Raising money is no doubt important, but reaching people who directly need your services is a true measure of ROI. Refuge has reported that during the month of February the National Domestic Violence Helpline, that they run in partnership with Women’s Aid, received 17% more calls than the same period last year. Thanks to this campaign, victims of domestic violence are finding their voice.