Helping charities drive fundraising campaigns via communications

A giving back competition for Oxfordshire charities delivered by Fortitude Communications has helped three good causes’ fundraising and awareness campaigns via communications.

Launched in April to help bounce back from COVID-19, the competition provided local charities with the opportunity to win a free professional video and a half-day photoshoot. 

Following a strong list of submissions, Fortitude added a bonus category of a press release, selected the three winners and delivered the communications outputs across the summer. 

Charity video production 

Be Free Young Carers was awarded the first prize of a video. The Harwell based charity offers support dedicated to improving the lives and well-being of young carers in south Oxfordshire. 

It wanted a professional video to help demonstrate its impact to communicate what it does to supporter and funders. 

Fortitude Communications worked with the charity to understand its objectives and created a storyboard prior to filming. Our head videographer Thom Airs visited Be Free Young Carers’ Family Fun Day and filmed the activities, captured individual stories and conducted interviews. 

A timeless two-minute video was subsequently produced which the charity has broadcast on its website and social media channels. It has also shared it directly with its key stakeholders and intends to use it at presentations in the future. 

Sabine North, fundraising and events coordinator at Be Free Young Carers, said: From conception to delivery, the service we received from Fortitude was exceptional. Our first meeting was to discuss our needs and what we hoped to achieve from the video, the whole process was client centric and using their expertise, they were able to provide us with a first class impact video.”

Outstanding results

The production included input from David Wells, Chair of Trustees, plus a young carer, the parent of a young carer and a volunteer. 

Sabine said: The impact of our work is told far greater by our amazing carers and volunteers. It’s why the video is so good at capturing the importance of Be Free Young Carers in Oxfordshire. 

Thom was incredibly down to earth and captured everything we could possibly wish for within the video. No shots were forced or setup, everything happened naturally which put everyone at ease in front of the camera and made for a great result.”

She added: We’re only a small charity and consequently funds to invest in a professionally produced video have not been available. We’ve previously made videos ourselves using smartphones, but it just doesn’t have the same impact and quality. 

We’re so grateful for the prize and know it will make a huge difference to how we engage with our supporters either via presentations, emails or social media. 

Already, Fortitude Communications’ video has been shared to potential funders who have been amazed by the personal stories our carers, parents and volunteers have to tell. Thank you, Fortitude Communications.” 

Charity photoshoot

Assisted Reading for Children
was the winner of Fortitude Communications’ second prize, a free photoshoot. 

The Bicester based charity works to transform the lives of thousands of children living in Oxfordshire by giving them a lifelong love for reading. Each year, approximately 260 volunteers donate their time to help children improve their literacy and communication skills in 120 primary schools across the county. 

Morale boost

After a challenging year ARCh Oxfordshire staff were thrilled to learn they had won our photography prize. 

Development Manager Jane Rendle explained: We’ve always relied on volunteers to supply images. A professional photoshoot has helped illustrate the joy reading brings to young people. 

We were so pleased to be selected as a winner and gave the team a superb morale boost after a challenging year. We saw the photoshoot as a great opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of ARCh – for children and volunteers – to all our stakeholders.” 

Professional service

Account Executive and Photographer Shaun Reynolds visited two events to provide ARCh Oxfordshire with quality imagery. 

The photos have been used on social media, in grant reports, in promotional materials and to accompany press releases. 

Jane added: Fortitude were very easy to work with and accommodated for our dates and timings to deliver two photoshoots. One shoot captured an ARCh session at an Oxford primary school, the other at a small celebratory event for our volunteers and supporters. 

Shaun was very understanding that some children were a little reluctant to be photographed but he put everyone at ease to capture some fabulous shots which were sent to use very quickly. The photos are helping us to spread the word about our work in Oxfordshire.”

Charity press release

Due to a high volume of quality entries, the Fortitude team decided to help a third charity, Against Breast Cancer, via the bonus prize of a press release. 

The Abingdon based charity funds pioneering research into new treatments, tools for earlier diagnosis and advice to reduce the risk of recurrence and secondary spread. 

The Fortitude team liaised with the charity and once a key theme was established advised on the best way to engage the media. A press release was drafted and once it was approved distributed to key contacts in the regional media. The release was about the charity’s bra sale to raise funds to support research into new breast cancer treatments. The article was placed in the Oxford Mail.

Samantha Williamson, corporate business development fundraiser, said: Fortitude Communications created a really engaging story about our Big Bra Bonanza and recycling scheme. 

Their support really helped us engage with more people ahead of the sale and raise awareness about the charity. The event was a great success and raised over £1,000 to fund vital breast cancer research. 

We’re extremely grateful to be selected as winners and hope to work with the Fortitude team again!” 

Supporting local charities 

Greig Box Turnbull, founder of Fortitude Communications, said:​“It is fantastic to see the positive impact our communications support has delivered for the charities. 

It has been great to discover and get to know more charities in our community and give something back to some excellent causes. The feedback has been wonderful and serves to further demonstrate how important story telling is in helping charities engage audiences and drive fundraising campaigns. I’m grateful to my colleagues for backing our giving back programme and enabling us to help some charities at time when it is really needed.” 

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