Thursday 05 December 2019, London

A breakfast meeting with a difference, December’s annual PM Forum event was an opportunity for professional communicators and marketers to come together to support this year’s chosen charity, The Childhood Trust (TCT).  Nearly 40 members gathered to offer up their expertise, following the success of last year’s event for Dementia UK.

Laurence Guinness, CEO of the charity, began the session by providing some initial background on the charity and presented a series of videos which showcased the work the trust does and the lives that they change through their outreach programs.

The Challenge

Whilst TCT is still a fairly new charity, the work that they do has impacted the lives of over 170,000 children living in poverty in London. Research released in December estimated that nearly one million children under the age of 11 faced a Christmas without a home or fresh food. The work that TCT does is imperative to providing support to these families living in poverty and who face continual struggles to put food on the table.  

The proportion of children living in poverty in London far outweigh that in the regions and with funding for children’s services facing cuts of up to 40%, TCT have tasked themselves to plug the gap.

Due to this shortfall of resources, necessity demands that the charity collaborates with grassroots organisations and charities to deliver a range of services, which they have executed extremely effectively to date. The event participants were split into three groups and asked to generate fresh, creative ideas that would increase donations and raise awareness of the charity in order that they can provide more support for those that need it.

Progress to build on

TCT explained that as part of their ongoing efforts to provide additional support for children, the trust had set up a tutoring program, and had traditionally worked with a number of corporates to decorate the bedrooms of children living in substandard homes. Both of these things have had a transformative effect on the children’s day-to-day lives.

To build on this work, the trust wanted to engage further with professional services firms in order to access the funding and expertise that are badly needed.

Communications

One team was asked to look at the issue from a communications point of view and to offer ways in which the trust could levy comms strategies in order to effectively communicate with its target audience. The group looked at engaging with a number of well-known organisations to implement a mentorship scheme, something that would fit within their CSR programs. Through insight from the charity’s team, attendees learnt that localising campaigns would be a useful strategy, communicating with local audiences in order to raise awareness of the charity and the work that they do in local communities.

Marketing

The marketing group looked at formulating ideas that could form one or several marketing campaigns. The group highlighted that offering donors the chance to sponsor a child directly would allow donors to feel more involved, whilst providing the opportunity to promote and amplify the scheme on TCT’s existing social media pages.

Brand awareness 

The brand team looked at how to turn the charity into a household name – at least in London. The idea of localising campaigns was also discussed, as well as ways in which to convey the charity’s brand messages. Incentivising participation for firms allowing them to be rewarded for their participation was discussed and could be a good way to propel the brand into the open.

After the three teams had presented their ideas to the room, it was evident that there was a fair amount of crossover between campaign ideas. All participants agreed that the best way to reach the trust’s target audience was to ensure that donors could get something in return for their efforts perhaps by simply participating in the initiatives.

The attendees came away from the breakfast feeling inspired and hopeful that their contributions would help to rouse interest and financial support for The Childhood Trust. 

written by
Sophie Hamilton, Infinite Global