Festive Giving: Unwrapped


Last month our Chief Digital Officer, Nick Smith, joined forces with the Good Agency to talk all things Festive Giving. Adland has very much turned it’s head to Christmas campaign creative approvals and execution and from a media perspective we’re no different.

So what were the big discussion points? And what should charity marketers being doing right now – 8 months from the big day!

Reflecting on 2023

So 2023 bounced back from what was a depressed 2022, this resulted in a strong Q4 with 33% of annual budget allocated in October – December.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, AV dominates, and November 2023 saw a record number of charities on TV. It is worth noting a steady growth in digital as well as the use of DM and door drops across the festive season.

Whilst preparing for the session Nick was in discussion with a wider agency panel talking about our clients’ focus points for the winter period. One pool were suggesting that Christmas is just for Cash right? Whilst another group were very much in camp RG (regular giving). So which is it?

Cash vs RG

We know that cash dominates the festive period.  JAA’s proprietary benchmarking tool, the Real-time Charity Scorecard (RCS) collates performance data from:

  • £126 million of AV expenditure
  • 2.4 million spots
  • 53 billion commercial impacts

Essentially, there isn’t a bigger or better data set to help benchmark third sector media spend. RCS showed us that last year cash donors prevailed in Q4. In fact 15% of our total annual cash donors came in December alone.   

However, we also know that if you run an RG campaign you will naturally see a spike in Cash donors over the festive period. So how do you navigate which message to prioritise? And then which media channel?

Know your donor base

It’s important to know your donor base – mapping in detail your audience; to product, to proposition, to appeal allows clearer identification of where your winter income is going to come from and how you reach those audiences. 

Naturally your existing donor base is predisposed towards cash whereas new donors provide a healthy RG opportunity.

Charity Checklist

Before kicking off your festive campaign you need to be considering:

  • Know your database
  • Creative consistency
  • Channel choice
  • Testing audiences and channels
  • Balancing messages; cash vs RG vs festive relevance

This is where we can help. And do help over 50 charity clients navigate each year. Now this check list alone isn’t enough.

How to make more in ’24

Without giving away Santa’s Secrets we would highly recommend an approach where you:

  • Consider All of the Above
  • Embrace the Festive Zeitgeist and Rituals – just take a look at some of our most memorable campaigns – Mog at Christmas for Cats Protection and RNIB Letter from Santa).
  • Don’t be Afraid to Diversify – 2023 campaigns for two clients showed some really interesting results in the DOOH space over the winter period
  • Lean in to the Google tech stack – Pmax, Demand Gen Ads are all here to help your donor through the giving funnel
  • Finally, Prep for Privacy – if you’ve not tested cookieless solutions yet, start now. Don’t wait. 

We understand that the festive season is a huge opportunity for the third sector and are constantly looking for ways to innovate and over-achieve. For us it’s about how we can help you do more with less. Please get in touch to see how we can support your festive growth.