How reacting fast to breaking news can boost your campaigns in 3 examples

Breaking news and current events can capture people’s attention, fire up their passion and be powerful drivers for action.

That’s why being able to respond fast to what’s happening in the world – from news headlines and political developments to popular TV shows – is an essential skill for campaigners and fundraisers.

As the three examples below show, if you can create compelling, emotive content fast and give people a way to make an impact, you’ll win support, raise money and propel your campaigns forward.

But it’s not always easy to pull off. So, we’re running a free webinar 9am on 5 October 2023 to help you master reactive techniques and identify opportunities that will work for your cause. Places are filling up – book yours here.

Let’s look at three times when responding fast to unfolding events has resulted in big wins for our partners…

Care4Calais: stopping refugees being forced onto the Bibby Stockholm barge

When the government began housing refugees on the Bibby Stockholm barge, it hit the headlines. We worked with Care4Calais to quickly send an email saying they were working round the clock to stop people being forced on board, and ask supporters for help.

Because it was reactive, the call to action was incredibly timely, tangible and urgent: Care4Calais had already helped 20 people stay off the boat and needed money to help more refugees access legal support to stop them boarding.

The email was a huge success as it gave supporters a clear opportunity to make an immediate impact on individuals’ lives and futures. It raised twice as much per recipient as other emails in the series.

With the situation evolving quickly and the story still in the headlines, we then sent a follow-up email to keep people updated and ask again for help.

It explained that refugees who had challenged the move were now being pressured to change their minds, with the threat that they could be denied crucial support. So Care4Calais needed funding to help people get urgent legal assistance.

The email employed emotive language to inspire empathy and outrage. This time, we used social proof to encourage generosity, asking people to match the average donation made by other supporters.

Although it had a slightly lower click rate than others, the email still raised 1.5 times the series average per recipient – a great result.

Read more about our work with Care4Calais>>

Stonewall: acting fast to protect LGBTQ+ people in Afghanistan

Most of our appeals with Stonewall had been focused on their UK work. But with the Taliban threatening LGBTQ+ people’s lives in Afghanistan, they needed urgent support to help partners on the ground bring people to safety.

Using World Refugee Day as a hook, we helped Stonewall launch an urgent appeal for funding. Because we had a clear figure of £5,000 as the cost of getting one person out of Afghanistan, we were able to create a really compelling call to action.

The result was incredible: the email achieved an average cash gift of £28 (1.4 times the amount we’d asked for) and an average Direct Debit gift of £15 – making it the best performer so far in our partnership with Stonewall.

Read more about our work with Stonewall>>

Freedom From Torture: rapidly recruiting supporters to oppose the Rwanda plan

When the government ramped up its anti-refugee agenda by passing the Nationality and Borders Bill, we worked with Freedom from Torture to launch a set of reactive handraisers.

These included an open letter to Boris Johnson opposing the plan to deport refugees to Rwanda, promoted via email and ads on social media.

The letter gave people an opportunity to show their values by standing with others against the government’s cruel immigration policies.

With the Rwanda plan making daily headlines and the political landscape changing rapidly, we were quick to adjust copy and images– both in ads and on the page – to reflect the latest news.

The handraisers together helped bring in 46,000 supporters at a cost per acquisition of £0.58.

Six months later, when the government lined up its first flight to take refugees to Rwanda, Freedom From Torture was able to call on these people to help block it. And it worked – after a high impact campaign, the airline Privilege Style backed out of the flights.

Read more about our work with Freedom From Torture>>

How can you harness reactive tactics for campaign success?

In our free webinar on 5 October, we’ll share more examples plus tips and tactics to help you maximise the success of your reactive campaigns.

We’ll explain what we mean by responding quickly, show you how it works in practice and give actionable advice on how to set your organisation up for success.

Lots of people tell us reactive activity is something they find difficult to do, but we know it has the potential to deliver great results when done right.

We really hope the webinar will give you the tools you need to drive amazing impact for your campaigns. Book your place now – it takes 30 seconds>>