Skip to main content

CharityComms top campaign picks of 2021

21 December 2021

Even as we continue to live in a world of uncertainty there are some things that will always keep us going. For the CharityComms team the thing that never fails to motivate and inspire us is the incredible work you our members do.

The campaigns from the sector this year have as always been amazing and it’s been hard to pick from them but here are the team’s favourite campaigns of the year…

The Girl who built a rocket – WaterAid

WaterAid’s animation film “The Girl who built a rocket” launched early in 2021 when the world’s media attention was focused on NASA’s billion-pound missions to find water on Mars. It told the story of a little girl’s dreams of finding water here on earth for her own community in Madagascar and what a difference clear water could make. The campaign brilliantly exploited this cultural moment to create contrast – no one is thirsty on Mars, yet half the world’s population does not have access to clean water. By putting this story at the heart of the news cycle, with exclusive C4 news coverage, it increased understanding of their work and lifted donations to the highest response rate in over a year. The money raised helped to fund additional projects in Madagascar. Brilliant, creative and impactful campaigning.

Adeela Warley, CEO

What’s in store – RNIB

I loved RNIB’s Design for Everyone campaign, particularly the What’s in Store pop-up this year which highlighted the issue of inaccessible packaging and the impact it has on people with sight loss. The experiential What’s in Store event gave visitors an insight into how it feels to be confronted with inaccessible packaging. The store was stocked with products with blank or intentionally vague packaging. Hidden cameras in the shop captured people’s reactions, and eventually the shopkeeper revealed that this is often the reality for people with sight loss when they are out shopping or want to buy food on the go. RNIB then shared these reactions widely on social media, and it was such a good way to raise awareness of this issue. Bite-size content made it incredibly sharable, helping the message reach even more people. Bravo, RNIB!

Vanessa Weddell, Head of events

The Heavy Gown – Plan International

Created for 2021’s #DayOfTheGirl Plan International’s Heavy Gown video is a masterclass in the impact of clear powerful messaging. Featuring a young girl struggling under the weight of a heavy gown that symbolises the weight that stereotypes can have on girls you gradually see her tear parts of it off as she breaks free. Free from the restraints of what she has been told she can and can’t do. Through the video, the charity successfully create a visual representation of how stereotypes condition how girls, feel, behave and see themselves and the weight of pressure that they feel on their young shoulders. They then call for us all to help “tear down the barriers of discrimination and prejudice that continue to hold girls back” – surely a message anyone would support after seeing such a dynamic and inspiring campaign video.

Christine Fleming, Head of digital content

Wasteminster – Greenpeace

An inundation of plastic through Downing Street in Greenpeace’s “Wasteminster” campaign powerfully exposes the gravity of the plastic crisis. Physically seeing the shocking quantity of plastic makes the problem tangible, and it’s heartbreaking when the flood of plastic arrives at the feet of the children. It’s eye-opening to realise that this quantity of plastic is what is dumped daily. We believe we are doing our bit by sorting our rubbish, so learning that the government aren’t holding their end of the bargain provokes you into taking action. Boris’s steadfast gesture and spewing of lies against the backdrop of a growing mountain of recycling is uncanny. Satire at its best. More people need to see this.

Imogen Lees, Membership assistant

Fight for Home – Shelter

We all need a place we can call home and as housing becomes increasingly unaffordable, Shelter’s Fight for Home is a campaign we can all get behind. Research from Shelter shows that 1 in 3 in Britain (around 17.5 million) are impacted by the housing emergency – a staggering amount!

The campaign centres around a powerful film sharing stories of those affected and features a track written and performed by Wretch 32. It gives me goosebumps! The work is ongoing so I hope in time they can make a real change for present and future generations. If you want to show your support, you can find out more on their website and if you like even sign a petition.

Adel Hanily, Digital content officer

Domestic abuse is getting smarter – Refuge

Refuge released an ad campaign this year, on the charity’s 50th Anniversary, focussing on the rise of tech abuse: The Most Important SmartPhone Ad – Domestic Abuse is getting smarter. Opening initially like a slick tech advert selling you the features of a SmartPhone, the viewer is quickly made aware, that actually what is being listed is all the ways technology can now be used by abusers. It is chilling. The message is powerful. The ways in which perpetrators manifest control over women is becoming increasingly complex and the progression of technology has made abuse smarter and easier. The numbers of women experiencing domestic abuse is rising, this has been brought into sharp focus during the pandemic. I think Refuge does an incredible job of campaigning and raising awareness of domestic abuse and the many forms it comes in, especially now in highlighting the challenges of the online world.

Like tech, domestic abuse is getting smarter. Raising awareness is vital.

Lally Wentworth, Mentoring manager

Whatever it takes – Macmillan Cancer Support

COVID-19 has continued to be the topic of conversation for everyone this year and as a result, many issues such as cancer have been overlooked. Macmillan’s ‘whatever it takes’ campaign really captured my attention and highlights the importance of their service more than ever. The video shows Macmillan staff going above and beyond to help people living with cancer and their daily challenges. The short film brought to life the human truth of what Macmillan do and the lives they touch – the carefully crafted scenes moved me to tears.

Mandy Cheng, events manager

National Day of Reflection – Marie Curie

2021 has been another challenging year for many, and I loved that Marie Curie gave the nation an opportunity to come together in a National Day of Reflection. The day, which aimed to support millions of bereaved people and remember those we lost during the pandemic, saw broadcasters stop to mark a minute’s silence. With Royalty, celebrities, political leaders and even Alexa and Google voice assistants involved, the campaign reached ¾ of all UK adults. With a clear message, Marie Curie urged us to: “make the legacy of the pandemic one of compassion, love, and being there for each other during their toughest times.”

Emma Wickenden – Events producer

NotOK: Cancer and young people’s mental health – Teenage Cancer Trust

There have been so many amazing charity campaigns over the last year, but one charity that stood out to me was Teenage Cancer Trust. Their #NotOK campaign was launched in June 2021 to shine a light on the fact that many young people in the UK are facing cancer without the mental health support they need. They encouraged supporters to email their MP, MS, MLA or MSP to raise awareness of the issue. They saw a great response and are now in the second phase of their campaign, which is calling on the UK Government to ring-fence funding to make sure all young people with cancer can access support from specialist psychologists. Amazing work!

Lauren Haizel-Cobbina, Events and membership assistant


If you enjoyed this you can find more inspiration in these blogs:

Banner Image: Jacqueline Brandwayn on Unsplash

CharityComms team

CharityComms team, CharityComms