Médecins Sans Frontières

Creating a record-breaking campaign, raising half a million in 4 weeks for this emergency response NGO

Services

Activation
Art direction
Campaign strategy
Design

£500K

Raised in the first month

8

Campaign ROI

£70

Average donation

“”

Hardworking, attentive and professional – they work as much as possible to act as an extension to our internal team.

Elisabeth Stodel Supporter Development Manager

The Brief

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Doctors without Borders, highlights a different mission around the world at key points in the calendar, dictated by the greatest need. 

They are the ultimate emergency response NGO – but it’s expensive work, and funding is vital. They engaged us in a creative campaign to raise funding for the war in Yemen, as the war went on, and public interest was waning. 

The Challenge

The next generation of donors distrust faceless organisations, largely sceptical of ‘aid workers’, they increasingly reject the traditional drama of charity advertising.

The challenge with Yemen was that the war had been going on for over a decade, and MSF supporters had donated for it multiple times before – they were experiencing a bit of ‘crisis fatigue’.

The Solution

We reframed MSF as a collective of doctors, each of them individual with hopes, dreams and fears, and created emotional connections without dramatising the victims.

We chose to focus on the very human story of an MSF doctor, Elma Wong, a young doctor who time and again goes back to the frontline in Yemen to try and make a difference. We showed our audience how vulnerable she feels – and the remarkable resilience she displays. 

And we tied the impact of donation to Elma’s story – so our audience could see how their money could tangibly make a difference to the treatment doctors deliver.

The Results

The appeal has been one of their most successful campaigns in the UK, driving five times the donations in the first week of the campaign than the previous. We raised over £500,000 after the first month, with an average donation of over £70 – an overall ROI of eight.

The campaign has now been adopted by other MSF markets across Europe, including the home market of France, where it drove €700,000 of donations – the most successful donor campaign in its history.