Major events and charity messaging: “Remember you are mortal”

Congratulations to UNICEF on capturing the Commonwealth Games. Let’s hope that containing a charity message across major televised events becomes a trend to remind us of our humanity and enable us to help. Rather like the person in the Roman Emperor’s chariot, when they rode in great triumphs through the streets of Rome with the crowds cheering, who had the job of whispering in their ear “Remember you are a mortal”…

This was a class operation with constant reminders throughout the event, which did not intrude despite its three hour duration and the call to action (in this case to text) coming towards the end.

Psychologically this came for some of us after watching the news on Channel 4, which had shown strong moving images from Gaza of the suffering of children and talking about the large number of children killed by the Israeli bombardment. It will be hard to tell what effect this had on the amount of funds raised.

UNICEF’s follow up came promptly the next morning with a text asking if people would like to gift aid the donation. This should help not only to increase the money raised, but also to encourage these people to become long term supporters of UNICEF as they will have extended their commitment and will hopefully be prepared to give again.

This is a further shift in the way we recruit new supporters, with Oxfam’s Chief Executive, Mark Goldring, recently commenting that most of their new supporters came from street fundraising, and with hard copies of anything from direct mail to newsletters becoming prohibitively expensive to print and post, the switch to online and mobile fundraising is not that far from being complete.

Of course, Mark Goldring’s time as an undercover boss was, I hope, not just a one off; but a sign that the Third Sector is just as interesting, if not more so, than politics and business to audiences. It will be disappointing if these two events are merely one-off aberrations and not the tip of an incoming social iceberg.