The Garden of Light solved that age old problem that charities face every year when it is time for their annual campaigns: how do you make the fundraising week (or month) both current and engaging? Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal, a week in which supporters are asked to wear a daffodil pin and take part in fundraising exercises, is well known but research by the charity found that few people were aware of both its role and where their money is spent. This lack of awareness has a direct impact on both engagement and donations, so it is a critical factor to resolve.
The Garden of Light installation, which featured 2,100 hand-made daffodils, each representing a Marie Curie nurse, was a very visual reminder that the care and support provided by these individuals can bring light in the darkest hours. There are sad stories but happy memories.
By pre-announcing the Garden of Light with artist’s mock ups of the installation, agency Hope&Glory generated initial coverage as well as whetting the media’s appetite for its actual arrival three days later. The launch adopted a media first approach.
Photography of the installation with a Marie Curie nurse, a family experiencing care from the charity, was available while long-term ambassador singer Frankie Bridge sat for a dawn photo call.
There was a ripple effect of coverage. The online national titles Daily Telegraph, Evening Standard, Daily Mail Online and Daily Mirror carried articles in the morning, while the Evening Standard’s print version covered the Garden, followed by ITV News in its London bulletins. The following day, the Garden of Light appeared as the backdrop for ITV’s weather reports while many national newspapers carried half-page stories.
Several key female lifestyle titles, including Prima, Best and OK!, also covered the story. This was particularly important because Marie Curie’s donors are most likely to be women. A video created by Time Out generated more than 310,000 views.
In the two days after launch, the Marie Curie website saw a 166 percentage increase in traffic while post campaign research revealed that 45 per cent of the UK population was aware of the Garden of Light and 59 per cent were more likely to donate as a result.
‘This was a cost effective campaign that clearly brought to life the work of Marie Curie nurses,’ said the judges. ‘It was extremely visual and had a clear message throughout.’