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Discover how Oxfam raised £1 million + using the Crowdfunder UK platform in our exclusive Q&A

On 16th May we hosted a unique event at the Royal Society for Arts where representatives from a range of top national charities were given a special opportunity to learn directly from Oxfam about how they achieved such a groundbreaking prize draw on Crowdfunder using Glastonbury Festival tickets and experiences as prizes.

The Oxfam campaign raised over £1 million for the Turkey/Syria earthquake appeal, with almost half of it being raised within the first 24hrs, so there was a lot to learn! Here are the highlights from the Q&A session between Duncan Parker, Head of Philanthropy for Crowdfunder and Jon Bounds, Head of Digital Platforms and integration at Oxfam.

Duncan: Jon can you tell us a little about your role at Oxfam?

Jon: on a day to day basis, I look after platforms like Crowdfunder, Just Giving etc, including our ticketing platform. I make sure they integrate well with our CMS, our data journeys, sort out the legal ramifications of different things, talk to our finance team and to a certain extent, I also find new platforms we could use that offer us new opportunities.

Duncan: You were the project owner for the incredible Oxfam/Glastonbury prize draw. Congratulations on how successful it was. This groundbreaking campaign was part of a wider DEC appeal in response to the disastrous earthquake that impacted Turkey and Syria. Can you kick things off by telling us a little about how the money that was raised is being spent?

Jon: As is often the case with a fast onset emergency like a natural disaster, there's a bit of a weird period where we know people need money and help but we don't quite know what is going on. So, we launched this campaign without really knowing exactly where a lot of the money would be going.

Oxfam obviously focuses a lot on water, hygiene and sanitation projects and so we’re planning on funding around 3,000 toilet and shower facilities in the worst hit areas. We also try to stay long term, so there's a 3 year plan for the work we’re doing out there.

Duncan: Have Oxfam run a prize draw before and if so how did it go? Did it raise over £1 million?

Jon: Oxfam ran a prize draw around 10 years ago. We did it via an SMS provider which we unfortunately found to be quite costly, it didn't work too well technically and we didn’t get the same level of useful data through this forum. I think we raised around £20k - £30k through it. This prize draw was also in partnership with Glastonbury, however it was just to win tickets - not the amazing experiences included in our recent campaign. It just never really worked for us to be honest.

Duncan: What do you think was the secret sauce this time around, obviously it was run on a different platform, not SMS, but what else made the difference?

Jon: A lot was to do with our timing and ability to launch really quickly when the disaster hit. Obviously the prize is really important, our long standing relationship with Glastonbury provided that for us. However, the most important thing really was our ability to get in front of an engaged audience which came from Glastonbury and to a certain extent Crowdfunder's support through emails etc which helped to keep that going. Essentially though, because Glastonbury were really bought in, them using their audience (essentially hitting their email list and insta) was really why we smashed it!

Duncan: Excellent, so when they shared it, what was the crossover of the audiences between Oxfam and Glastonbury?

Jon: Oxfam run stewarding and campaigning at Glastonbury so we’ve got a fairly engaged festival email list, but we worry about emailing them sometimes.. But we were reassured when we heard from you guys at Crowdfunder how the traffic was coming in off the back of Glastonbury's emails, you could see the traffic chunking in 5 minute chunks. I would be surprised if most of the people on our list weren't also on Glastonbury's too.

Duncan: Nearly 50,000 people got involved. Do you know much about the reach behind that, in terms of how it was shared?

Jon: We got something like 500,000 engagements on instagram, 1 million views on tick tock and it made it into the Metro, the Mirror and music industry press too which helped.

Duncan: Amazing. A feature on our platform is that when you give, you can leave a comment and there seemed to be a lot of delight in the thousands of comments about having a chance to enter. What did you think about the supporters feedback?

Jon: Yes - it was really encouraging. We normally plan for negative comments by creating a Q&A - for when people inevitably start moaning about things, but actually the overall overarching sentiment of the messages was ‘this is a great cause, a great opportunity, i’ve already donated but i'm going to enter this’. There was actually also a message asking ‘will you marry me!’ although i'm yet to find out who it was from.

Duncan: Maybe they thought they were on a different platform!

How has the prize draw benefited your relationship with Glastonbury? I suppose there is some kind of halo effect of them offering such a wonderful prize. What has that done for your relationship with them?

Jon: It’s been really positive on all fronts. Glastonbury were incredibly pleased with it. Our relationship goes back 30 years over which time both sides have learnt a lot. They are quite rightly protective of their brand and normally they are quite quiet, but for this campaign they were highly engaged and gave way more promotion than we were expecting.

Duncan: What were your main learnings from running the prize draw?

Jon: I knew it was technically quite a simple operation as we’d been using Crowdfunder for a few other things, so the background set up work was already done. There was a temptation to overcomplicate the prize tiers, but the advice from the Crowdfunder team was to keep it really simple! We probably could have done more in terms of understanding the data but because we launched so quickly we didn't have time to set up some of the tracking we should have done.

Also - the Launch is so important - put all your focus on content - there after it is about promoting what you have.

Duncan: an incredible 50,000 people supported it, how many of them opted in to hear from you?

Jon: We had about a 20% opt-in rate to our email communication so that was really good, by the time we cleaned the data there were about 5,500 new supporters added to our database. They've since gone on a fairly light touch donor journey where we’ve talked about festivals and our online shop, with the hope that they will become regular givers further down the line. It was a fairly big data collection exercise with new supporters.

Duncan: Incredible.. Were there any challenges?

Jon: Yes, we had some internal challenges, as it was important for us to keep Glastonbury happy by using consistent branding, messaging and protecting their reputation.

We had three key peaks in the campaign and we could have done with more peaks to keep spreading the word. Also, because of the high profile nature of the campaign, we were already sending out emails about Turkey/Syria, so we were trying not to bombard that audience too much.

Duncan: Do you have any advice for charities, especially on building relationships with prize providers?

Jon: Charities should be really flexible about the offering. They should learn all they can about the corporate partners' brand and their audience.

Make the entry point low to a prize draw so that anyone can enter.

Get your charity set up on the platform in advance so you are ready to leap on the opportunity. We went live in under a week!

Duncan: Final question, are you likely to run another prize draw?

Jon: The internal appetite is huge, whether it will be with Glastonbury or another partner remains to be seen, we may need to manage expectations down a little.. We do have relationships with other festivals and we get offers of celebrity fashion pieces too.

We’ve now learnt how to make the most of the data provided from running a prize draw and how to do our own promotion a little more. We did almost no paid social on this campaign whereas we could in future..

Duncan: Thank you Jon. So, in summary, the magic of this campaign came from: having a really compelling cause, really compelling low price point rewards and promotion from both Oxfam and your prize provider, the highly shareable nature of the campaign both by Glastonbury talent and donors.

We hope that this interview helps other national charities looking to run a hard hitting prize draw campaign on Crowdfunder.

You can download the deck from this session here.

Fundraising magic that is possible with Crowdfunder UK
Download PDF • 2.31MB

If you have any questions about running a prize draw on Crowdfunder, get in touch with our team:


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