2020 was a globally unprecedented year, and nonprofit organizations like The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit felt a significant impact with a greater need for service across its communities than ever before. Following six months of non-stop fundraising to support individuals affected by the pandemic, The Salvation Army announced it would launch its annual Red Kettle Campaign on Sept. 14, two months earlier than previous years. Due to COVID-19 restrictions and fewer physical red kettles on the streets, it was clear the 2020 campaign would require increased support from digital initiatives to meet its $8 million fundraising goal.
Franco developed an integrated communications plan for the campaign, looking specifically for opportunities to generate awareness and donations in a virtual environment. To meet the increased need for donations, Franco had to think outside the box. In addition to fully integrated support via media relations, traditional advertising and external communications, Franco tapped into the power of micro-influencers and community partners, as well as organic and paid social media, to achieve the awareness and donation goals.
Specific program tactics included:
- Facebook Concert Series: With zero opportunity for in-person events, Franco reinvented a former concert series called Rock the Red Kettle into a Facebook Live experience. We secured nine bands through a strategic partnership with Detroit’s classic rock station 94.7 WCSX, 101.1 WRIF and other close connections. Franco coordinated with each local band to support an authentic online concert experience for their unique audiences – many of which fall outside of The Salvation Army’s traditional donor base – educating them about the nonprofit’s programs and services and generating awareness for the Red Kettle Campaign and the increased need for donations across metro Detroit.
- Detroit Media Fundraising Challenge: Since 2015, The Salvation Army has partnered with local Detroit media personalities for Celebrity Bellringer Day. While many of our media partners were unable to support the campaign through in-person bellringing at iconic red kettle sites, Franco conceptualized and executed an online approach – Celebrity Bellringer Weekend. Nearly 50 media personnel created their own virtual red kettles and used their social media channels to educate their followers on the current need for donations.
- Corporate Chairperson Initiatives: The legendary Herman Moore, former Detroit Lions player and current owner and CEO of Team 84, LLC, served as the 2020 Red Kettle Campaign corporate chairperson and used his platform to support The Salvation Army. Franco worked closely with Mr. Moore and his team to support various social media initiatives and leveraged his virtual red kettle for the $84,000 Herman Moore Challenge where his supporters could donate directly to The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit.
- Connected TV Advertising: In addition to traditional advertising placements and a digital advertising strategy, Franco recommended utilizing connected TV advertising to reach an untapped audience. We broadcasted select ads across OTT devices like smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV Sticks and other streaming devices.
- Raised more than $17,000 via organic social media, supported through strategic paid boosting efforts. (A 2,172% increase compared to organic social media donations garnered in 2019.)
- Generated more than $5,700 in donations via Facebook concert series.
- Generated more than $12,000 in donations via Celebrity Bellringer Weekend. (A 170% increase compared to 2019 Celebrity Bellringer Day donations.)
- Supported integrated communications strategy for Campaign Chairperson Herman Moore, resulting in $42,000 donated to his virtual red kettle.
- Reached more than 450,000 individuals through Connected TV advertising.