3rd – 5th July 2017
The Barbican

#autismTMI - how to get 56 million views without traditional advertising

: Chrystyna Chymera-Holloway

Chrystyna Chymera-Holloway, Head of Insight and Strategic Marketing at The National Autistic Society explains what fundraisers can learn from the TMI campaign and shares 5 top tips before her Convention session...

The Too Much Information Campaign launched by The National Autistic Society on World Autism Awareness Day, April 2016, is the biggest ever autism campaign the UK has ever experienced. While, we certainly had a good investment in our campaign, we didn’t have millions to spend - we were just clever about how to make sure the most people possible saw our content.

With a reach of 56 million views of the launch film, a record-smashing partnership with the Guardian, 16% growth social media followers, tens of thousands of new supporters added to our databases, and arguable one of the charity-sector’s most powerful virtual reality experience, there is a lot fundraisers can learn from the techniques we used.

Significantly, the campaign is making a real difference to the lives of autistic people and their families. We have been inundated with messages of thanks from autistic people from around the world who felt for the first time people understood them. We heard from several people who used the campaign to 'come out' to their friends and family to tell them they had been diagnosed with autism. One mum told us her little boy, who found it impossible to communicate his anxiety, saw our campaign and now says ‘too much’ when he becomes overwhelmed. This means the world to us. Our own board chair who has an autistic son said it was a 'game changer' and shed tears when she told us she wished it had been around when her boy was growing up.

In our talk, we hope to share with you some secrets to our approach to user-centred content creation, our seeding strategy, the use of virtual reality, and how we turned exposure into new supporters.


What fundraisers can learn from TMI

For me, one of the key reasons I want to talk to fundraisers about TMI is that in the early stages of our campaign planning, in meetings with our media buyers, I was shocked to discover the impact that the biggest charities, with their multi-million pound media budgets, are having on the advertising landscape.

No longer can charities access the very best buying rates, and without a spend of at least half a million pounds or more, it seems traditional buying can no longer guarantee decent level of national impact. For me, it’s important that the charity sector continues to innovate so we’re spending our precious pennies as efficiently as possible.


Overwhelming reach, new supporters, new corporate partnership

We’re are overwhelmed by the success of the campaign. Our NFP polling show 10 million more people say they’re aware of problems autistic people face in public places since launch in April 2016.

57 million people world-wide watched our launch film – an unprecedented viral success, not just for us but across the charity sector. 90% of people taking part in a twitter poll of our audiences also said the campaign would improve understanding of autism. Our partnership with the Guardian drove over 310,000 unique visitors to our content and astonishing increases in awareness levels of our campaign, our charity and increased understanding of all facets of autism highlighted in the campaign.

We’ve also see several other huge benefits such as new corporate partners coming on board, including Intu who are to become the first ever chain of autism friendly shopping centres and who went on to sponsor our virtual reality tour of their centres.


Top 5 tips to whet your appetite:

  • Think outside the box to make your budgets go further. Traditional routes may no long won’t work for you as they won’t give the reach you need. We chose sharable content and a media partnership over a large traditional advertising plan.
  • The best way to create engaging content is to ensure it’s absolutely authentic. Our audience were our secret weapon in getting our films out there and so it absolutely had to resonate with them, and come from a place they fully bought into. All three of our TMI films have featured an autistic person who we found among our own supporters as the main actor and the importance of this cannot be underestimated.
  • Lobby hard internally to ensure the organisation really focuses on doing one thing properly at a time. With buy-in at all levels we were able to leverage all the internal resource we needed and really build enthusiasm for the campaign.
  • Treat seeding content with the same level of commitment as you would pitching a big news story to media outlets. This is the new way of the world - social content aggregators and influencers now have more reach than traditional media outlets and many charities have been slow to catch onto this.
  • Test your content and find ways to do this nimbly. We learnt so much from our testing. We did invest in some focus groups, but we also organised our own with autistic people and families, or went out on the streets of Islington with mock ups to ask passers-by their opinions. We learnt so much in doing these - sometimes things that came through so strongly that we would have missed because we were too close to it all. It gave us the evidence to stop any ‘design by committee’ watering down our strongest ideas.

I hope you can join our session at IoF Fundraising Convention 10:45 - 11:30, Wednesday 5th July 2017

Chrystyna Chymera-Holloway, Head of Insight and Strategic Marketing, The National Autistic Society

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