Tough 2020

  • by Ian McCawley
  • 11/01/2021

It goes without saying that 2020 was a tougher 12 months than most of us would have predicted.

With 2021 now under way, the WPNC team is taking stock of the tumultuous times we’ve lived through. But we’re also looking forward to what will hopefully be a happier and healthier year that brings financial certainty for our clients.

In this series of short blogs we’ll gaze into our crystal ball to predict what the next 12 months will look like for charities, commercial organisations, consumers and the world of work - as the great recovery begins.

How charities can grow in 2021 and beyond

It would be wrong to claim 2020 was anything but a bumpy ride for third-sector organisations. Yet it was also a year of innovation as we helped our charity clients devise myriad new ways to target donors.

Working with agencies of all causes and sizes, in the UK and internationally, we collaborated on some highly successful initiatives. These ranged from the first-ever remote DRTV ad filming sessions, to ensuring digital fundraising options could take the strain while traditional methods such as face-to-face were cut back.

2021 promises to be tough, too, but we’re an optimistic bunch and believe there are huge opportunities for charities to grow. We asked the team to share their thoughts on how this can happen:

Gail Cookson, International Director: “In 2020, we learned the power of human connection through its loss. In 2021, we need to strengthen that authentic human connection we all crave by developing more two-way marketing messages. Face-to-face fundraising may have a resurgence as people look for social interaction and human connection.

“For charities, it will be a time to reconnect with older audiences, who may still be self-isolating and possibly lonely. Their pensions are intact but they can’t go out to spend their money. Give them great news to feel good about themselves and a reason to want to support your cause.”

Sandra Money, Head of TV: “Covid has produced a new awareness of helping others, and brand advertisers know this. Big brands are attaching a charity ask to their some of their TV advertising, or creating a commercial for a charity and attaching their brand to it. They are venturing into the DRTV fundraising arena but need help to do this.

“This might even expand into charities sponsoring a regular TV programme or using storylines to help promote their charity. Coronation Street ran the storyline about a terminally ill child and his parents, reluctant for life support to be switched off. For a charity that helps parents like this, it is an ideal opportunity to create a specific fundraising TV commercial.”

Richie Florey, Head of Delivery: “Charities will actually benefit. People are desperate to raise funds, hold events and participate in more mass events than before. Doing their bit for their local charity, when they desperately need the money and help, has also become more important because of the community help these organisations bring.”

Hannah Williams, Client Services Director, Carole Guiet, Account Director, Edie Gibby, Account Executive, Cara O’Keefe, Senior Account Manager:We’ll see a shift in audience motivations to give, and an increased need for charities to stay relevant and show the immediate impact they’re making. We may see a return of more restricted or specific communications to give more transparency. Ongoing comms to reassure and maintain donors will be crucial.

“How many more ‘emergencies’ can the public take? While there is still an increased need, we mustn’t overuse this term so much that it loses its power. We need to think of new ways to create urgency.

“We could see more charities create online partnerships with the commercial sector, and more organisations making use of touchpoints in supermarkets. We may see smaller charities merge with larger ones that have similar causes - as Dementia UK and Young Dementia did.

“Meanwhile, audience motivation will change. While digital events were a great way to keep busy during lockdown we’d expect to see an increase of audience apathy towards them. Charities must analyse audience behaviour and update or create new personas, defining new propositions to engage people.”

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