This World Refugee Day, World Vision shared the second instalment of their hard-hitting and sometimes unexpected Childhood Rescue campaign, directed at younger donors. We find out more from the agency behind the campaign.

Image: World Vision International

World Vision International’s one-of-a-kind global fundraising campaign, Childhood Rescue, offers donors a new kind of proposition to support. Targeting younger (25-40), globally-minded donors in 21 countries, the campaign funds lifesaving work in some of the world’s most dangerous places, such as Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.

Currently, World Vision supports 3.4 million children through child sponsorship. However, millions more live in parts of the world where conflict or unrest makes traditional humanitarian programming impossible. The Childhood Rescue program exists to deliver fast, urgent help so these vulnerable children can survive, recover and build a future.

“We wanted to stay true to who World Vision is, a humanitarian organisation focused on children, while addressing some of the world’s biggest crises,” says Elisha Smallcombe, World Vision International’s Senior Advisor of Product Development and Innovation.

World Vision chose digital agency, ntegrity, to develop the campaign.

“We knew ntegrity’s experience lay with fundraising campaigns. We wanted to tell emotive, unexpected stories while driving donations for Childhood Rescue… we wanted to partner with an agency that understood how to link a powerful creative idea to drive fundraising results,” says Elisha.

“It’s a dream to partner with World Vision International,” says Richenda Vermeulen, CEO and founder of ntegrity. “With such a large global reach, this is an unparalleled opportunity to inspire a new generation of donors across the globe to show up for vulnerable children in the most fragile contexts.”

The full campaign includes a number of key ‘energy moments’ throughout the year and is designed to interrupt the usual content audiences see online. The first campaign video, produced in partnership with storytellers, Jack Nimble, premiered on Earth Day, 22 April, and highlights the surprising link between climate change and child sexual exploitation. The next ‘energy moment’ took place on this week’s World Refugee Day.


F&P’s Fiona Atkinson caught up with Richenda to find out more about the Childhood Rescue campaign.

What is it about the campaign design that makes Childhood Rescue appealing for young donors?

As F&P readers would know, the average donor age is around 65. So when creating campaigns to appeal to a younger audience, there’s a couple factors we consider.

First, there’s the issue or cause itself, like global poverty, refugees, and the climate crisis. With news and newsfeeds having less borders, Gen X and Millennials are keenly aware of global issues. They’re interested in what’s happening, how they can respond, and the difference they can make.

Childhood Rescue is a giving product that addresses those global issues. The funding helps respond to urgent needs in fragile countries, with life-saving interventions and recovery programmes for vulnerable children.

And while the default giving mechanism for Childhood Rescue is a monthly subscription-based product, there is flexibility in this – donors can opt-in to both the frequency and amount.

The campaign creative is designed to grab attention by interrupting the audience’s feed. So the videos start with something you’d normally expect when scrolling through Facebook or TikTok — like kids playing, or a wedding, or a cooking video — but then there’s an interruption, a twist that packs a punch and reveals a broader story about the reality of vulnerable children in the world.

You have taken the approach of linking issues that don’t immediately come together in people’s minds – such as climate change and sexual exploitation – what is the strategy behind establishing these unexpected links?

The link from Earth Day to sexual exploitation is a bit unexpected.

While our audience knows the reality of  global warming, they may be surprised to learn exactly how climate change is already making life incredibly difficult for children in fragile contexts. For example, forcing young children into sexual exploitation because of a lack of food or famine in an area.

Similarly, this week we release content focused on World Refugee Day. We’ve all recently seen increased coverage of refugees – but it’s rare to focus on the lives they had before conflict began. So for World Refugee Day, we spoke to everything children had been forced to leave behind. 

The campaign aims to break through the clutter around these issues to force people to rethink how they can help and inspire action.

Can you tell me more about ‘energy moments’ – what are these and what do you hope to achieve with them?

Energy moments are points in the calendar that leverage an international day (where there’s already interest and traction online amongst your audience) to push an awareness and fundraising message. This often helps boost the performance of your campaign, as you ride off natural audience and media interest – particularly the increased likeliness of your content being shared via social media. 

Can you expand a bit more on the tactics of the campaign – proposition, channels, audiences, creative and so on? 

The key proposition around this campaign is that “Life can change in an instant”. 

Research showed this thought resonated strongly with the audience. So we needed a means of bringing it to life in a way that was engaging and unexpected. 

To do this we created a look and feel for the brand that was almost journalistic, giving people an insight into what was happening day in and day out in the world’s most dangerous places. We combined this with creative that interrupted people’s feed – for example, climate news interrupted with the realities of a child forced into sexual exploitation, or footage of kids playing interrupted by conflict.

As this is a global campaign that will be implemented by 20+ international support offices, the media plan needed to be flexible and modular depending on different media landscapes. We recommended focusing on the channels that young donors engage with and ensured that our creative fitted in with people’s usual feeds. 

Channels that were selected for these younger donors included:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram, especially Stories
  • TikTok
  • YouTube 
  • Email
As an agency, what are the first steps you take when starting to work on a new campaign with a client such as World Vision ?

Before we launch any fundraising campaign to market we always invest in strategy first. This includes discovery (analysis of what’s worked/not worked in the past, audience insights, trends in market) before developing a strategic approach that nails our audiences, proposition, supporter journey and channels/tactics. 

We really hit the ground running with World Vision International, fast-tracking strategy in order to move into refining creative concepts, producing creative assets and then developing fundraising playbooks with clear implementation instructions for each of their 20+ fundraising offices who would be deploying this campaign in their specific markets.

In your words, why is it important for charities to engage a growing audience of younger donors? Is it important for all charities to engage younger donors?

Both Generation Z and Millennials are digital natives and by 2025, Millennials will make up around 75% of Australia’s professional workforce. This speaks to a huge shift in discretionary income. 

What we see is that younger donors are the early adopters, but the learnings from this age group often give us insight into broader giving trends for all donors. For example, 10 years ago, websites were mostly for younger donors. Same with email. And paid search. Now, those tactics are driving significant revenue from all donors – not just young ones. 

The charities who are investing in learning what channels, products, and messaging are working best with younger donors are often a step ahead – and less reliant on tactics that are becoming less effective.

The places where we’re seeing significant growth in fundraising – such as P2P fundraising, regular giving and corporate partners – are areas that are over-represented for donors under 50.

Each charity will have a different strategic approach to engagement and fundraising, but we know that donations follow awareness and engagement, so it’s worthwhile for charities to consider how to appeal and engage with audiences even before they become a core segment of givers.

What is your top tip to any charity hoping to engage more young donors?

Become laser-focused on digital channels and clearly communicate your impact in bite-sized pieces all year round.

According to McCrindle Research, 93% of Gen-Ys are more likely to engage with an organisation that clearly communicates its social impact, compared to 80% of Baby Boomers. 

So my top tip is: Make sure your best stuff isn’t hiding in a 20-page report! Instead, share snippets over the full 12-months, not just all at once – because that’s how young people consume content.

Make social impact reporting a regular touchpoint in your donor journey, and ensure one of your always-on content pillars across all channels is focused on reporting on your impact. 

For you, personally, what brings you joy about working with World Vision?

I sponsored my first child with World Vision when I was 13 years old – and started a paper route to pay for it! This regular giving product, and its related comms, impacted my life significantly – from becoming a social worker, to working within programs in World Vision US, which morphed into my role now in digital fundraising. 

While at World Vision, I had the opportunity to travel and see first-hand their impact on children and the families they supported in India and Zambia.  

Richenda meeting her two World Vision sponsor children in Zambia.

For our team at ntegrity, it’s a privilege to have access to those stories of impact… to interpret the hundreds of interviews and case studies and photographs into a campaign that pulls at the attention and hearts of donors.

For me personally, donating regularly at a young age has made philanthropy and donating generously a central part of my life. It’s an aspiration to help build the next generation to care about global poverty and giving.

To find out more about World Vision’s Childhood Rescue campaign, click here

To watch the video of Richenda meeting her sponsor children, click here

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