World Vision: The Sto­ry Shop

Exhibited by
Joe Burnett
October 03, 2019
Medium of Communication
Charity shops, experiential marketing, face to face
Target Audience
Individual donors
Type of Charity
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance

SOFII’s view

World Vision tested experiential marketing by creating a beautiful, high-end interactive store. Inside this store, prospective donors got the chance to understand the needs of beneficiaries whilst making donations through an interactive and easy-to-use system. The Story Shop shows how organisation’s can think big, reach out to donors and tap into new technologies to connect them to the cause. In an age of excessive caution, The Story Shop is a example of fundraisers being bold. 

Summary / objectives

World Vision, a child sponsorship organisation, launched The Story Shop in 2015. At first glance, The Story Shop appeared to be a vintage specialist store with wooden cabinets displaying curios from around the globe. However, the ground-breaking project used the latest digital technology to ensure visitors could interact with about one hundred individual stories from across the world and have an opportunity to sponsor a child or make a one-off donation.

Working with design agency The Yard Creative, World Vision took the idea of bringing a charity into the world of high-end shopping and made it reality. The initial challenge was how to reward high value donors with a rich experience that would be welcomed in mega-malls.


Historically charities have not often been welcomed in major retail mega-malls, generally because landlords hold negative perceptions of charities canvassing in prestigious retail environments. 

Special characteristics

Shoppers passing what initially appeared to be a full-length mirror, will have been amazed to discover it was actually an interactive computer screen. Activated by movement, the screen summoned a young girl waving to passers-by. She encouraged visitors to put their hand against hers on the screen, initiating pop-up details of her life story. The longer this connection is sustained the more of the child's story is revealed.

Visitors to The Story Shop were also encouraged to open drawers in the wooden cabinets, activating videos illustrating the lives and challenges faced by children from Cambodia to Syria. Shoppers keen to sponsor a child were shown individual profiles of children they could sponsor, with an embedded video from each child.

The option to ‘tap to donate’ via contactless card or Apple pay was also built into the store to allow people to give directly to the charity's crisis support. All payments and donations were handled electronically.

The Story Shop was a mid mall kiosk space and an immersive retail experience. The interactive magic mirror captured passers-by and then set them on an adventure to explore the inner world of The Story Shop and get closer to those in need. 

The Story Shop was offered six premium locations including both London Westfields and Brent Cross, within 48 hours of the initial presentation to shopping mall landlords.

According to The Yard Creative, full credit must go to World Vision for making The Story Shop a reality: 

‘A client’s attitude always has a huge effect on the outcome of any project and we have been inspired by the World Vision team. Their desire to change and challenge was unlimited. Even when we told them they would need to employ completely different skill set of staff to deliver the experience, they never strayed.’

Steve Wood, head of supporter growth at World Vision UK said:

We want donors to walk away not only feeling good about what they have just given, but amazed and overwhelmed with the difference they can make and the journey they are only just beginning.


This new initiative helped the charity to raise £25,000-worth of donations, which is 316 per cent above target. World Vision UK’s retail channel has grown by 29 per cent in one year, from four per cent of acquisitions to 33 per cent.

Beyond donations, the objective for The Story Shop was to engage donors with World Vision’s cause and the lives of their beneficiaries. And the campaign also did very well on the awards circuit:

  • Winner in Not For Profit category of DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2017
  • Winner of Most Effective Shopping Centre/Roadshow at FMBE (Field Marketing & Brand Experience) Awards 2016
  • Winner for Mall Retail at the BCSC Opal Awards 2016
  • Highly Commended for Short Term Retailer of the Year at SCEPTRE Awards 2016
  • Commendation for Exhibition/Experiential Design at The Drum Design Awards 2016
  • Finalist for Retail/Pop up Interior Design at The Drum Design Awards 2016
  • Finalist for Best Use of Design & Technology In-store at ISG Retail Week Interiors Awards 2016

The project was developed further in 2017 with a new interactive installation The Garden of Hope. Central to the installation is a garden of giant, white jade plants inspired by White Jade (a little girl from China who is living in poverty), Shoppers can learn more about White Jade’s story as well as those of other vulnerable children through interactive touchscreens and physical elements such as a weighted jerry can (a large container). This allows visitors to experience what some children must go through simply to gather water every day.

The Story Shop was launched in UK shopping mall Westfield, one of London’s biggest and busiest retail spaces.
The Story Shop is interactive, allowing shoppers to view stories of World Vision beneficiaries.
UK agency The Yard Creative planned the shop in detail.
Touching a mirror would launch a video introducing visitors to a video of a beneficiary.