#OneMillionClaps, one year on

Wednesday, April 21st, 2021
Two children stand outside of their front door. They are clapping. On the path in front of them, 'Thank you NHS' is written in pink and blue chalk,

– Sam Hibbard-Daniels, Senior Account Director


The highs and lows of our Covid year are something we’ll look back on for a lifetime. We baked Sourdough and we won zoom quizzes. We fought furlough, and many of us lost loved ones.

For NHS Charities Together (NHS CT) the highs and lows of 2020 were no different.  While our NHS workers were on the front line saving lives, NHS Charities Together was fundraising at scale for their ongoing support. 

Back in spring 2020, as we stood on our doorsteps to clap and cheer in celebration of our brilliant NHS, in awe of their fight against Covid-19,  at Open, we were hatching plans to turn this community moment into a multi-million-pound campaign for NHS Charities Together. 

And we had to act fast.

Unlike many of our international charity clients, prepared for natural disasters, earthquakes and fires, and who have robust and tested emergency processes in place, NHS Charities Together were responding to something unlike anything any of us had experienced.

Our audience insight was right in front of us. We were being told to stay home and do nothing. But everyone wanted to do something. The public were already showing their support and solidarity every Thursday night. We knew that with the right opportunity to give, we could turn this into valuable financial support for NHS Charities Together. 

And so, the #OneMillionClaps campaign was launched.

Using the OMG Text Giving platform, we asked the public to text ‘CLAP’, plus a message of support, sending an immediate £5 donation to NHS CT. In order to ensure the message then got to their local trust, they received a reply asking them for their details at which point we also had the opportunity to Gift Aid and ask for further consent – which an amazing 42% of people opted to do!

At Open we believe in bringing the right people together to change the world… so that’s exactly what happened! At the heart of the campaign was our hero DRTV ad, shot in the lockdown restrictions by colleagues, team members and extended family. We also created digital content, social posts and print press, and collaborated with colleagues, celebrities, media partners, brands, and most importantly, the generous general public.

The campaign continued to grow, and the support from the public, brands and media alike was phenomenal. As well as the fabulous David Walliams recording our voiceover for the DRTV, brands who had pulled their own advertising during the pandemic were generous in stepping forward to show their support. North Face kindly donated unused TV broadcast space during the period, National press space, including ads in The Guardian and The Evening Standard was given to us at no cost.

With the support of gifted media space, high profile celebrities and promotion on social channels, we then partnered with ITV day time, to partner as their official charity to celebrate and support the NHS CT, with presenters promoting our donation number, and themselves sending messages of thanks and gratitude to our NHS staff.

While thousands of people gave nationally across other platforms, our CLAP text and response mechanic allows us to build future meaningful relationships with our donors. We were able to send them a great big thank you in the spring for their support. They were the first to be invited to our Big Tea event in the summer. And they’ll be the first to hear about our upcoming fundraising events this year.

As with all successful campaigns, being able to continue the conversation with your donors, making them feel important and showing what a difference they have made to your causes, is vital in securing future donations. 

In fact, we’re not done.  NHS Charities Together will be the people we reach out to with the new spring 2021 campaign, demonstrating the ongoing need for support for our fabulous NHS staff. The campaign, inviting donors to ‘Be There for Them’ will continue the conversation around the ongoing challenges the NHS staff are facing following the third spike, and how the public’s valuable donations can make a real difference.

It’s live now. If you see it, share and donate where you can.

At Open, we know that collaboration is key in creating successful campaigns. Whether that’s bringing together the power of technology, audience insight and tailor-made creative, or whether it’s the coming together of teams and skills with a united vision.

If you’d like to talk to us about your fundraising challenges, or to tell us about your Covid year, arrange a coffee (or tea) with us.

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