It's our third edition in the series of blogs dedicated to philanthropy. This time we're interviewing Ben Reynolds, one of our Marketing Managers, whose chosen charity is The Grand Appeal. We wanted to find out more about what makes this a great charity, and of course, what are some of the marketing activities that have inspired him.
Hi Ben, can you tell me more about your chosen charity?
I’ve chosen The Grand Appeal, which supports the Bristol Children’s Hospital. They have been around since 1995. They do a lot of work around funding life-saving research for children in the South West. The Bristol Children’s hospital is one of the largest dedicated children’s hospitals in the region. I think they take in over 100,000 children every year and they do a lot of good stuff with critically ill patients and they’ve got a dedicated neo-natal ICU. I don’t think there are other hospitals in the South West that have comparable facilities.
The Grand Appeal part of the charity is a really fun way to promote the work at the Children’s Hospital because they are able to leverage the much-loved Wallace and Gromit characters to build a connection with the public, and of course, the Bristolian community.
What has been your favourite marketing campaign completed by The Grand Appeal?
I think the Gromit Unleashed campaign because I’ve got two young girls and they absolutely loved it. Back in the summer, we went to a few of the sculptures and we did the trail. They had loads of fun jumping around the sculptures, and taking pictures of them, and seeing the reactions from different people that were visiting the sculptures was really good. I think because it gained so much social traction, and it was in the Bristol Post, it was a very clever way of trying to engage with a brand and build awareness for the charity.
If you could run a marketing campaign for the Grand Appeal, what would it be?
That’s quite a tricky question. They’ve got a very well-integrated fundraising campaign and I think from what it looks like they are in a good place in terms of all the different types of marketing that they are doing. They certainly don’t suffer from not being able to attract enough funding. I would say that they are very good at being able to position themselves with the Wallace and Gromit partnership and make it really lighthearted, fun, creative and showcase a large variety of people fundraising. One thing that would be ideal is to see more of the impact stories of some of the patients that they are working with. They do promote it to an extent, but they could do more to create maybe little video snippets of how the Children’s Hospital are helping certain families, what it means to provide emergency accommodation for patients and families, that kind of thing. Just to give it that sort of 'real life' edge, to give more balance rather than the more brand-centric stuff that they do as well. Whether that’s through a Twitter campaign or Instagram campaign where they are putting out a series of patient-centric videos, it could be a good way to build authenticity around the people they are actively supporting.
Why did you choose this particular charity?
I chose it because I’ve had experience with the Bristol Children’s Hospital. I first encountered them a couple of years ago. My daughter was suffering from mild dehydration at the time. When I took her in, I didn’t quite know what to expect because I hadn’t been to a children’s hospital before. But as soon as you walked through the door it was like a playground - so lovely, with lots of toys and books for kids to read. It is just such a welcoming environment. It feels more like a pre-school than a hospital. Bright colours on the walls, murals, and everything else. You come in feeling a bit more relaxed and when you are seen you just feel so reassured because the staff are just exceptional. They are knowledgeable, but not clinical, there is a real human touch that comes across. They were talking to me in layman terms - explaining it as it was and gave me the reassurance that I needed. It's a fantastic hospital.
I’m also raising funds by competing in the Eden Project marathon this Sunday in Cornwall. Do check out the fundraising page if you wanted to make a donation.
Thank you Ben for telling us more about the great work that The Grand Appeal is involved with.
For more info on The Grand Appeal visit grandappeal.org.uk. And don't forget you can still sponsor Ben's marathon on The Grand Appeal fundraising page. Stay tuned for more editions of our philanthropy series!