Back in September 2017, Focus Ireland launched a ground breaking campaign to highlight the serious problem of young people who are becoming homeless when they leave state care at the age of 18, here in Ireland.
A short film entitled “I can’t sleep” tells the story of a young woman called Lucy who leaves care. As the story unfolds, it takes two different paths of Lucy’s life. One side shows her as safe, happy and dancing as she gets aftercare support and housing from Focus Ireland. In the other version, she is out on the street, scared and in danger without any support which leads to a very sad and unhappy outcome.
This powerful and heart-wrenching campaign was aired over the entire advertising slot of Ireland’s premier TV shows on at least 3 occasions, causing the desired effect of getting everyone talking on social media.
It was made even more poignant as U2 had kindly given permission to use their emotive song “Sometimes you can’t make it on your own” as it played throughout the film.
The story brilliantly demonstrated the work non-profit organisations like Focus Ireland do to help prevent young people becoming homeless, as it ended with the strong yet poignant statement:
“Over 500 young people leave state care every year. Too many become homeless.
Focus Ireland works to prevent this happening. Challenging homelessness, changing lives”.
The video ended with an appeal asking people to donate €4 by texting HOME to 50300. For every €1 raised, Bord Gais Energy (their strategic partner in the campaign) donated €1 (up to a maximum of €60,000.00).
Charities like Focus Ireland rely heavily on public support, so they need to be very clever when it comes to marketing. As a result, I firmly believe there is so much we can learn about marketing from organisations like these.
Focus Ireland needed to appeal to the masses and hit a large audience. They needed to build awareness of the plight these young unfortunate people face in Ireland so people will have the conversation and help bring about change. And finally, they needed to evoke emotions, so people would donate financially and they could continue their great work.
This campaign was no exception – it was both bold and brilliant. According to the 2017 annual report raised over €120,000.00.
In March 2018, the organisation went on to win at the National Fund Raising Awards. They took Gold in the “Best Fundraising event” category and Silver in the “Best use of Digital” and “Most Innovative Fundraising Campaign”.
Whilst the campaign may have been successful on many levels and even though it was run a number of months ago, we have to remember on a human level, the problem still exists.
In fact, according to the annual report published at the end of 2017 "Focus Ireland recently warned of a rising Youth Homelessness crisis as the number of 18–24 year-olds homeless increased by 78% over the last three years”.
So come on let’s celebrate their great work and donate €4 now by texting HOME to 50300 or by clicking on the Focus Ireland website.