Charity Marketing

9 Best Charity Marketing Campaigns

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Written by MicroStartups

Charities are great at marketing. They often put on inspiring and interesting campaigns to raise awareness and spread their messages far and wide. Here are nine of the best charity marketing campaigns.

Unmute — Ask Him (Movember)

Movember launched their ‘Unmute — Ask Him’ campaign ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10th) in 2017. Movember are aiming to reduce premature male death by 25% by 2030; one of the biggest killers in men is suicide.

Their month-long advertising campaign was aimed at combating male suicide, and featured 3 subtitled videos in the style of ‘how-to’ tutorials. Each video features three different men demonstrating how to do something typically ‘blokey’ like fixing a flat tyre, or fishing.

The idea was that the viewer started watching the ‘tutorial’ muted — tapping into something everyone does all too often when we’re scrolling through Facebook — and was then invited to unmute the video.

It turns out that with the sound on, the man in the ‘how-to’ video is saying something completely different to the subtitles; he’s opening up about his mental health struggles.

Movember’s aim with this thought-provoking campaign is to encourage open conversations about men’s mental health. They use the video to ask people to ‘unmute’ in real life, and to reach out to men they know to ask if they’re okay.

It’s a clever campaign that taps into our social media habits and uses them to draw attention to a big issue — men’s mental health. The call to action is simple: ask and listen.

Get Over It! (Stonewall)

some people are gay stonewall campaign

In 2007, Stonewall launched the ground-breaking ‘Get Over It!’ campaign to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.

Their succinct, attention-grabbing posters were seen in classrooms, on billboards, in bus stops, and train carriages up and down the UK. The posters — which said simply, ‘Some People Are Gay. Get Over It!’ —  were aimed at tackling bullying in the classroom in particular.

The campaign was a huge success, promoting discussions about how LGBT pupils are treated in schools, LGBT sex education, and bullying. It also celebrated gay people and gay identities, and the message was soon taken up by celebrities, politicians, sports stars and activists all over the world. The slogan has since diversified to include ‘Some People Are Bi. Get Over It!’ and ‘Some People Are Trans. Get Over It!’, as well as being translated into many different languages.

It’s still one of the most memorable charity campaigns out there to this day, over a decade later.

#KnowYourLemons (Worldwide Breast Cancer)

worldwide breast cancer lemons breasts

One of my favourites. #KnowYourLemons was a breast cancer awareness campaign that went viral back in 2017. Their awesome campaign managed to reach an incredible 166 million people around the world in just 3 weeks, and is still being shared now.

Worldwide Breast Cancer’s campaign raised awareness of the symptoms of breast cancer with their distinctive educational poster of 12 lemons in an egg carton. Each lemon showed a different way that breast cancer could present itself, and managed to get past those pesky nudity rules on social media by cleverly using lemons instead of real breasts.

There’s obviously no cure at the moment for breast cancer, so the best chance of beating it is early detection. This innovative marketing campaign makes it easy for everyone to visualise what to look and what to feel for.

Shared in 23 different languages and more than 70 countries, the #KnowYourLemons campaign was simple, effective and reached a lot of people.

A Dog Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas by Dogs Trust

The iconic slogan ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ was first created by Clarissa Baldwin, the then-Chief Executive of Dogs Trust, way back in 1978.

Since then, it’s been used as an annual marketing campaign every year leading up until Christmas — to promote responsible dog ownership and remind people that we need to safeguard dogs.

The beauty of this marketing campaign is that it’s memorable, instantly recognisable and can be adapted each year to create an a new spin on the same campaign. In the advert below, a whole load of celebrities get involved in the campaign:

And in this one, Dogs Trust has created a comic advert based on all of the real reasons people have given for giving their dogs away:

Fatty Cigarettes (British Heart Foundation)

This pretty graphic campaign is definitely not the most pleasant to look at, but it’s one that will stick in your mind for a long time after — particularly if you’re a smoker. The marketing campaign comprised of visual images such as posters and internet adverts showing a cigarette as a clogged artery full of fatty, and a pretty gross TV advert showing fat dripping out of cigarettes as a group of friends sit around smoking.

The British Heart Foundation ran this campaign back in 2004 to make more people aware of the link between smoking and heart disease, and what smoking can do to your arteries.

It worked a treat: the charity received 12,000 calls to its smoking helpline, and 65,000 hits of a smoking awareness website in January. Apparently,14,000 people gave up as a direct result of the marketing campaigns — what a success.

Likes Don’t Save Lives (UNICEF Sweden)

This hard-hitting charity market campaign was launched by UNICEF Sweden with the slogan ‘Likes don’t save lives’. They called out so-called ‘slacktivists’ — people who just click the ‘like’ button rather than actually donating to help out a charity.

Social sharing is great for building communities and raising awareness — and all charities need this. But it can’t just stop there — charities rely on cash donations to help with causes.

UNICEF Sweden was the first charity to just come right out and say it: hungry, sick children will not be helped by virtual ‘likes’ alone. Check out one of their compelling adverts below.

#OneMoreMinute (Child Bereavement UK)

The #OneMoreMinute campaign by Child Bereavement UK was launched last year to raise awareness of the needs of bereaved families and children. It’s a really emotive campaign showing a number of bereaved families as well as celebrities who have lost someone, talking about what they would say if they had one more minute with their loved one.

It’s a difficult subject and the footage is really raw, but the campaign has helped to open up discussion on grief, and it has benefitted so many families already. Money goes towards giving families bereavement support and guidance.

Wear It Pink (Breast Cancer Now)

Breast Cancer Now’s ‘Wear It Pink’ marketing campaign has been going since 2002. Since then, it’s raised more than £31.5 million to fund research into breast cancer.

It’s a clear, easy campaign idea which is probably why it’s worked so well for nearly 20 years. The concept is simple: register, wear pink on ‘Wear it Pink’ day (held in October during breast cancer awareness month), and raise money. It’s inclusive, not time-consuming, and doesn’t entail being sporty or skilled — so everyone can join in.

Wear it Pink tend to have a digital marketing side to their annual flagship campaign too. In 2017, they sent their supporters a short, personalised video on Twitter when they tweeted #wearitpink. This ‘thank you’ message was personalised with the user’s name and photos they’d tweeted. As a result of retweets and likes, these videos reached more than 77,000 users — a good lesson in how digital engagement can strength a charity’s relationship with their audience.

Second a Day (Save The Children)

Save The Children’s 2014 marketing campaign, ‘Most Shocking Second A Day Video’ is one of the most revolutionary and memorable video campaigns. It’s been seen over 59 million times and been…

It features a young British girl, depicting her life in London in the style of a ‘second a day’ — but with a twist. The video imagines what it would be like if London experienced a Syrian-like conflict, and the result is shocking.

The video calls for donations to help Syrian refugee children, and the accompanying tagline, ‘Just because it isn’t happening here, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening,’ forces the viewer to confront the realness of the situation shown.

As you can see from our list, there have been many great charity campaigns in recent years. The use of videos and social media trends can make a huge difference to a charity — reaching way bigger audiences, increasing awareness, and raising more money for their cause.

Are there any great charity marketing campaigns you think we’ve missed out? Let us know in the comments below.

About the author


A team of writers and marketers, MicroStartups was founded to inspire the entrepreneurial and business community to give back. We believe in business growth through giving and supporting the local community.

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