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Driving Growth for YMCA in Summer

Written by Freddie Constable


Most of our advertising for YMCA is around homelessness. The charity has typically found that giving to homelessness peaks in the winter months when it is cold outside – there is a perception that this is when being homeless is worst. However, homelessness is a year round issue, and support is needed all the time. In summertime there is little or no access to water, shade, sun cream, refrigerated food or basic sanitation and many suffer dehydration, severe sunburn and heat exhaustion. For those sleeping rough, lighter, longer days means that the risk of violence and abuse on the streets is constant.


Performance for YMCA campaigns has historically been at its best, the colder it is, and performance has dropped off past around March. This has meant that the donation value hasn’t been a viable route from March on wards.


However, this year we tested a new social media approach to get much needed donations in the summer months. We ran a tailored creative with summer imagery and summer messaging highlighting that homelessness was a problem in summer too. This was paired with a summer landing page with summer homelessness stats and quotes.


The campaign was run only when the weather was over 25°C to maximise response. Performance was tracked versus the temperature of the days to see how low in temperature we could dip, and campaigns were switched off when it was too cool.


The campaign was run across Facebook and Twitter, two of YMCA’s strongest channels. Whilst previous campaigns had always hit negative ROIs after the end of March, this campaign was very successful, with positive ROIs and cost per donations actually lower than those in February and March. Facebook’s summer activity drove a cost per donation 18% better than February, and Twitter’s summer activity drove a cost per donation 23% better than February.


It's been incredibly rewarding to know that with a bit of innovation and expert performance planning we can tackle the most challenging of briefs and deliver exceptional results time and time again.