“The magic of Christmas”: The fundraising campaign that works


With the time of giving approaching, major aid organisations have revamped tactics to attract more Christmas donations from generous Australians.

In some cases, organisations are offering ‘gifts’ for monetary giving. World Vision and UNICEF have advertised specific products that people can purchase, which will then directly help the charity to send critical aid to vulnerable people across the world.

World Vision Australia Head of Marketing, Garth Stirling, told Third Sector that the gift campaign runs all year round, but 90 per cent of the revenue comes in at Christmas.

“Our research shows that there is a large proportion of gift buyers who are using the gift as a donation rather than a gift for someone,” Stirling said. “We have a hypothesis that these supporters feel a greater level of clarity and control over what their donation is used for or they enjoy the purchasing experience.”

World Vision currently offers High Impact Gifts valued between $1,500 and $12,000, gift bundles for multiple gifts, ‘HopeFULL’ boxes in traditional Christmas wrapping and the ‘HopeFULL’ crackers for corporates wanting to celebrate their staff.

Stirling said that all four of the gift campaign options have been successful at expanding its market presence and increasing the average gift purchase.

UNICEF Associate Director of Communications, James Nichols, told Third Sector that the gift campaign works because people are drawn to options that tend to deliver the tangible products, with trust and transparency strengthened with it.

“It’s an important fundraising tool for us,” Nichols said. “We know it appeals to the new audiences and to existing audiences. It also helps to bring people into the organisation and allow us to communicate with them over time about our work.”

He added that it is a “really effective way to provide people with another avenue”, with donors choosing to gift a gift they know will have a wider impact on the world.

Nichols said the campaign worked well around Christmas as donors are more likely to be thinking about the welfare of other people. Currently, the gift of giving a vaccine is the most popular choice, followed by offering therapeutic care to combat malnutrition.

World Vision’s research found that Christmas is the most meaningful day for Australia but customers are often left frustrated with the commercialism. The Gift that Lasts a Lifetime campaign offers a generous alternative to the materialism.

Stirling said the charity gifts category can be very competitive and does put pressure on the organisation to be innovative and supportive of donor needs. He said that like any campaign or product, “it’s important to start with understanding your target”.

“We knew we wanted to position ourselves as part of the magic of Christmas, creating a meaningful ritual for yourself and/or your family,” Stirling said.