The Trussell Trust: Michael McIntyre’s lockdown video calls

Exhibited by
Natasha Rosenthall
Added
March 10, 2022
Medium of Communication
Online
Target Audience
Fans of Michael McIntyre
Type of Charity
Food banks
Country of Origin
UK
Date of first appearance
April 2020

SOFII’s view

This campaign, showcased at the Supporter Experience edition of I Wish I’d Thought of That (IWITOT) in 2020, is a brilliant example of a simple but remarkable donor journey. And it didn’t even start with a professional fundraiser. 

Comedy mega-star Michael McIntyre decided to reach out to his fans during lockdown in order to bring them joy. How? In exchange for donations to The Trussell Trust, they would get their own mini-live show over video call. In just one month, he’d raised nearly £60,000 – without it costing a thing for the charity. That’s some celebrity endorsement. And through a follow-up thank you from both The Trussell Trust and Michael himself, the supporters knew they were loved. Could this be the new face of celebrity fundraising?

Background

Michael McIntyre is an English comedian, author and TV presenter who happens to be the world’s highest-grossing comedian. He has hosted a number of TV programmes in the UK, been a judge on Britain’s Got Talent and has over four and a half million followers on Facebook and more than a million on Twitter. He has sold over three million tickets to his live shows and holds the record for selling out London’s O2 Arena a staggering 28 times, beating the previous records of musicians like One Direction, Prince and Take That. He’s a familiar face and a hugely popular celebrity. With the UK in lockdown, Michael came up with an idea to connect with people affected by the pandemic and raise money for a good cause.

Summary / objectives

Have you ever dreamt of having hundreds of arenas all filled with totally engaged audiences, all listening to your charity’s causes? Maybe that’s the future. Michael McIntyre wanted to put his spare time in lockdown to good use, reaching out to his fans in their homes while also raising much-needed funds for The Trussell Trust, the UK’s largest network of food banks for the homeless.

Creator / originator

Michael McIntyre

Special characteristics

Michael McIntyre made use of the technologies we all had to turn to during the pandemic lockdowns, in this case video calls, to connect directly with his fans in their homes, bringing laughter and joy at a very hard time. He set up a GoFundMe page and The Trussell Trust spread the word on social media. In return for a donation, McIntyre would call up the supporter and regale them with his funny routines.

And while recruiting celebrities to help fundraise is not new, this campaign brought celebrity endorsement into the context of 2020. McIntyre was using The Trussell Trust to make the change that he wanted to see. 

I want us to view this campaign as a potential new value exchange model. Where previously charities have given out things like tote bags or t-shirts in return for a financial donation or a piece of a supporter’s data, here the celebrity gives some of their time. It’s a win-win for charity and supporter.

This is a new approach to using celebrities in the charities sector and one that could be replicated in different ways. We just need to get inventive over which celebrity supporters we use given their specific skill sets, while the technology, in this case video calls, could be open new ways of communication.

Merits

The campaign drew in the supporter with that very engaging video by Michael McIntyre (ed: please watch it in full below). 

It felt like a very personal video and went to millions of fans via his social media presence. Then the donor was given a very easy way of making a donation thanks to the click-through on the video to the GoFundMe page. Michael then showed the love with the video call. After that, a lovely thank you with information about The Trussell Trust was sent out, which is so important. And Michael McIntyre released follow up thank you videos which allowed for continued support for the cause. That’s a proper supporter experience.

The Trussell Trust had free access to super engaged audiences. They had a trusted representative of their charity in the form of Michael McIntyre, that household name. They raised a huge amount in just one month, without them needing to spend resources. Michael went off and did it himself. Finally, it was an exclusive offer for new supporters, something they couldn’t get anywhere else.

Results

The campaign was a huge success. It raised £58,629 from 2100 donors. And it didn’t cost The Trussell Trust a penny.

Other relevant information

In recent years, the use of celebrities by charities has become quite controversial. The likes of Comic Relief have stopped sending celebs to Africa after criticism of the likes of Stacey Dooley and Ed Sheeran coming across as ‘white saviours.’ This campaign provides an alternative for ambassador led fundraising. 

Check out Tash’s presentation here:

 

 

And here’s Michael’s video to his fans:

Michael McIntyre raised money for The Trussell Trust by offering to call donors in exchange for a gift via GoFundMe.
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In just a month, the campaign raised nearly £60,000. It’s a superb return, with little cost to The Trussell Trust.
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This picture shows what a superb supporter experience McIntyre and The Trussell Trust provided for donors.