Plan International UK

Helping Plan devise a different integrated sponsorship drive

This is the first charity DRTV and digital campaign to be created by sponsored children – a truly groundbreaking achievement

Rethinking the norms of fundraising with a TV first

Charity supporters are used to seeing emotive images of people or animals in need of help in a variety of situations. It’s a tried and tested fundraising formula that has been around for decades, and very often works.

But when WPNC pitched to Plan International UK, the agency and the charity devised a different approach. The charity raises money to help disadvantaged children around the world, relying heavily on donor sponsorship. What if a new campaign revealed how those sponsorships were helping to rebuild children’s lives and communities - with stories told by the youngsters themselves?

Meanwhile, in a climate where many donors have been questioning their own faith in charities’ fundraising efforts, there is a need for increased transparency and trust. What better way to achieve this than by letting kids be the stars of a campaign they helped to create?

A charity and agency team flew out to spend time with a community in Ghana to put this exciting new concept into practice.

A focus on children the charity supports

In chemistry sessions, WPNC and Plan International UK hit upon the idea of sponsored children being the stars of the campaign - as the children are always central to planning how funds will be allocated, and giving children an equal voice is a key policy for the charity.

The children were very excited to be part of the decision-making process and tell the story of how sponsorship has helped their community. That joy comes through in the films.

Alan Gosschalk, Fundraising Director at Plan International UK

This was such an exciting way of filming a campaign - risky and challenging, but wonderfully authentic. We had an idea of what we needed to come away with, but every day revealed a different, new story. We’ve still got a huge amount of footage to consider, and we also left cameras with the charity team in Africa to potentially provide further video for future use.

Maria Phillips, Director of TV & Film, WPNC

Moving away from traditional DRTV methods relied on WPNC, Plan International UK and the community all working together with an understanding of what we wanted to achieve. The result was an immersive campaign that helps donors feel as if they are there with the children.

The team worked with a group, predominantly girls aged five to 14, to script and shoot footage for the ad and digital campaign. They initially took part in a planning workshop to discuss how the ad would look, and were then given handheld video cameras to capture scenes in the village and in their homes.

Of course, we didn’t neglect the village’s very real need. But we were asking donors to respond to a more positive type of appeal.

In the ad, the children explain how sponsorship has improved the village school, water supply and health provision. It ends with the serious message that many children still need help. There is a call to action with a number for viewers to text for a callback outlining in-depth information about sponsorship, and encouragement for people to go online to find out more about the children involved in the ad.

Storing up stories from a single shoot

Traditionally, charity agencies set out with a storyboard in mind to capture just the right amount of footage needed for the campaign that has already been meticulously planned. WPNC took a different, truly integrated approach.

Knowing that we needed rich assets for a DRTV push and ongoing digital campaign, the crew - including the children - shot hours of footage. This meant determining stories and angles on the go; a challenging approach, but one which the team cracked.

Using the footage shot around the village by day and by the children at home, WPNC has already developed the initial DRTV adverts; online videos that tell the stories about some of the sponsored children; social media clips; Plan International UK workers interviewed and filmed by the kids; and even a behind-the-scenes ‘making of’ video. Nothing will be wasted. The work is being supported with digital marketing including interactive banner ads.