Well done Christian Aid

Last week was Christian Aid week. I (Matt) know this because I saw the traditional advertising campaign that happens every year to announce it, although this year the campaign was far from what people would think of as traditional charity advertising.

Christian Aid’s Bite Back at Hunger opens with a phrase coined many years ago by clever people here at Oxfam in our Give a Man a Fish campaign, first aired back in the early eighties. The ad quickly moves on though to show how aid has changed and modernized over the last 30 years using the example of Mo, who through the use of a solar powered freezer has been able to open a fish shop to earn money to support his family. Take a look below:

There are none of the stereotypical images of starving African children that the UK public have come to connect so closely with charity communications. They are replaced with bright, optimistic images of people learning to thrive rather than just survive. Although this isn’t a straight direct marketing ad, it is still presented as a fundraising ad and that is where the risk lies. People don’t give to positive advertising, or so we’ve been told by countless pieces of research.

Christian Aid have got a pretty hefty target of £12.7 million to reach for their Christian Aid week. To reach it they’re going to have to make sure that they get noticed in the cluttered world of charity advertising. To get noticed they’re going to have to do something different from the expected development campaign. Doing something different inherently has risks attached to it.

Has the world moved on from the classic donation model? Are the UK public ready for a new approach to fundraising which aims to make them feel good about giving money rather than guilty for not giving it?

No one can say if people will give money in response to Christian Aid’s campaign and if they’ll reach their target. What we can say is well done for trying something different, for zagging when others are zigging, and for not resorting to the overly used stereotypes that can harm all our reputations in the charity sector.