Although the St Vincent de Paul (SVP) is the largest charity in Ireland, they get only 1% of their funding from the government. Despite this, 16% of the population are still in consistent poverty in Ireland today and calls to SVP for assistance have doubled since 2008.
In 2015, charities were facing additional challenges, not least a growing distrust driven by a number of scandals in the sector. A survey that year found that 57% of people “did not trust that all the money goes to the cause”. Huskies were appointed just as SVP were battling against this negative media storm and had more people to help and less funds than previous years to do so. Yet still they had to put food on the table in 150,000 Irish houses.
Our strategy was to reconnect the donor and the recipient and to motivate the donor by placing them in a position of empowerment. Poverty is changing in Ireland, and the types of people seeking SVP’s help are more diverse than ever before. We knew from speaking to SVP volunteers that people could be saved from dipping below the poverty line if they could just get a small helping hand up at the right moment in time.
From 2015-2017 our creative platform, ‘A YES CAN LAST A LIFETIME’ demonstrated the long term effect SVP’s help had on people like this by creating stories that contrasted the outcome of a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’ on our protagonists’ lives. In 2018, we evolved the campaign to show people that poverty is closer to us than we think and to change the perception that poverty is an unsolvable problem.
The campaign changed the fortunes of SVP at a turbulent time, arresting a decline of -3% in donations to deliver an increase of +28% in four years. Critically as part of this uplift, direct debits increased by 31% and online donating by 41%, both of which are essential for long term sustainability.
Most importantly, the campaign increased public support and much-needed pride within SVP, while helping provide essential services for 150,000 vulnerable Irish families. In the Company of Huskies were awarded two Silvers for Long Term Effectiveness and for Public Service, Social Welfare & Education at ADFX in 2018.