How Action Aid used PR to make their Yorkshire Means the World campaign a success
ActionAid aims to improve people’s lives every day. One of its initiatives is to encourage people to sponsor a child within the developing world. The aim of the Yorkshire Means the World campaign was to recruit new sponsors for children. This is the charity’s first regional fundraising campaign, and Yorkshire was picked as a region because research showed that Leeds is the most generous city in the UK for ActionAid sponsors, and Yorkshire has a reputation for being loyal and community focused.
As well as recruiting new sponsors, the campaign wanted to thank Yorkshire people for their support. It also aimed to gain cash donations, gather prospect data, raise awareness of ActionAid and form new community groups.
Case studies were used to tell stories of children around the world who have already been sponsored by people in Yorkshire, demonstrating how this sponsorship changed their lives.
The campaign was communicated through a wide range of media from direct mail to radio advertising. PR activity included online activity; publicity surrounding a celebrity trip (Helen Worth from Coronation Street visited Sierra Leone); a PR launch involving a film projection in Leeds city centre; and support of three key events. These events were:
Yorkshire Supporters Day. This event started at lunchtime in a venue in Leeds City Centre. It included talks, workshops as well as drinks and canapés.
ActionAid Festival. A marquee and covered stage were erected in a Leeds pedestrianised shopping street for a weekend, where there were: learning materials for children to use; a message collection area where people could write messages of solidarity; two photography exhibition stands; a screen playing ActionAid films; a food display area where demonstrations took place; and on the stage throughout, different entertainers showcased Asian, African and Latin American dance and music.
Yorkshire Walks the World. This family-friendly event encouraged children and their parents to walk a one-mile route around Roundhay Park in Leeds. Everyone who took part received a card with the story of a child helped by ActionAid. This showed how another child has to walk for water, or school, or healthcare, in their everyday lives.
There was print coverage in Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Evening Post, The Leeds Guide and Wakefield Express. Broadcast media coverage included Pulse Radio, BBC Radio Leeds, BBC Radio York and ITV Calendar.
At the time of writing, 800 new sponsors have signed up, and this figure is still rising.
The key events for the campaign took place in October, but other elements of the campaign are ongoing.
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