JustGiving Turns a Platform Into a Brand


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Our Ad Of The Week this week comes from fundraising platform JustGiving, which has become a crucial part of fundraising infrastructure in the UK, but in the past hasn’t had a particular strong brand identity.

We don’t feature many ads focused on fundraising in Ad Of The Week because most of them don’t score well on our Test Your Ad database. They lean heavily on sadness, anger and other negative emotions that can make them powerful motivators in the short term. But for our central concern of long-term brand building, these negative emotions are a disadvantage.

Of course, fundraising-focused adverts have a duty to be honest about the problems they raise. They can’t ignore the very real hardships and issues that charities look to alleviate. But they can balance those with more positive emotions based around the contributions people make and the positive outcomes that result. These approaches are often more effective.

JustGiving’s ad, created with agency GOOD, scores 3.9-Stars in Test Your Ad, which places it in the top 2% of all charity work in the database. The Ad does feature negative emotions and doesn’t sweep hardship under the rug, but it’s carefully constructed to resolve those emotions, which means viewers leave it feeling positive and the ad ends up as an effective one.

The ad shows three real stories of fundraising made possible by the JustGiving platform. We see three dads walking to fundraise in memory of their late daughters, then a paraplegic channel swimmer who asks JustGiving donors to sponsor her remarkable feats, and finally a family who bake samosas every weekend to help people in need. The fact that each of these are real fundraising stories isn’t explicitly emphasised by the ad. But it gives the ad an air of authenticity that helps it land emotionally for viewers.

The order of the three stories is crucial too. Putting the most poignant story first creates a swell of sorrowful feeling. Like any negative emotion, sadness can create intensity and make an ad work better – if it’s resolved. By switching stories, GOOD and JustGiving let the ad resolve the negative feeling without downplaying the power of their first example. By the end of the ad, the sadness is all but gone, making the whole thing a more powerful emotional journey.

As well as showcasing inspiring stories, the ad is also aiming to introduce JustGiving to viewers as a brand with an identity in its own right beyond just being a useful platform. Behind the campaign is the desire to take the disconnected acts of fundraising and charity that make up JustGiving and turn them into something more cohesive. The ad tells donors that they are a kind of tribe of “JustGivers”, creating a group identity that helps each person’s charity efforts feel like part of a larger mission.

Overall, JustGiving stands as one of the best recent fundraising-focused ads. It’s inspiring and motivating, it makes the JustGiving fundraising community feel proud, and it does strong work laying the foundations for the JustGiving platform to grow and find its own identity as a brand.

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