Rowcroft Hospice supports people with life-limiting illnesses across South Devon, caring for over 2,000 patients every year. The hospice requires over £7m a year to remain open, so constant fundraising, as well as a need for general awareness campaigns, is vital to ensure their future.

A ray of light

Our aim was to raise awareness of Rowcroft’s 24/7 care, particularly at home, at Christmas time and the cost of delivering this care.

Previous campaigns with direct messaging had not been overly successful, so our approach was to concentrate on the nurses and their tireless efforts to care for patients.

Collaborating closely with the team at Rowcroft, we created a new campaign and character that would appeal to a wide audience, as well help to raise awareness of who Rowcroft are, their main offer, and the key issues facing them each year. Speaking to the team, we discovered that the nurses were often referenced as rays of light when they enter the room, either at the hospice or when providing out of home care.

Telling the story through Ray

As the spearhead of the campaign, we created the character ‘Ray’. A representation of the emotions people feel and how their mood is lifted when they are being cared for.

Ray was a star in his purest form, a simple character that would follow the nurses around and epitomise the effects they have when they have left. We then worked with Rowcroft to create a script and storyboard that could fit the story into a 60-second video to be promoted on social media.

In order to truly show the beauty of Devon, we combined live video with animation, creating a unique and dynamic video.

On location footage was combined with illustrations of Ray, with a heartwarming soundtrack and voiceover. With the video finished, we used multiple platforms to help promote the marketing campaign. A web page on the Rowcroft website was produced to help drive donations, with key information also displayed.

We created a social media strategy lasting 6 weeks, promoting the video, as well as creating additional content with facts and figures about the hospice and stories from the nurses about the difference Rowcroft makes to patients and families at Christmas time, showcasing how they go the extra mile. We used targeted adverts across Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, but most of the effort was on Facebook due to the catchment area and age range of people most likely to donate. There was a strong emphasis on targeting specific areas across the West Country that may have been touched by the Hospice or could be in need of support in the future.

Results

There was a 50% uplift in website donations during the campaign period, with over 10k engagements and over 123,300 people reached across Rowcroft’s social media platforms.

 

It is always difficult to cut across the charity campaigns that dominate our media channels at Christmas. Working with Bluestone360, we created something completely different and the mix of animation and real life footage created warm, engaging and uplifting content that inspired engagement from our social media audience and engendered financial support. We were thrilled with the engagement and reach of the campaign and feel that it helped raise considerable awareness of our lesser known community services.

Rachel Bell Head of Marketing and Communications - Rowcroft Hospice

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