August 7th, 2020

From Joy, to Hope: A Lockdown Success Story

As charities suffer in 2020, are you desperate for a story of hope? We spoke to The Children’s Society about Give Hope: their lockdown pivot that delivered beyond expectations.


From Captain Tom, to the country’s rainbow obsession, the darkness of 2020 has led us to stories of hope. 

Rewind to December 2019. The Children’s Society, together with Good Innovation, had just launched Give Joy: asking people to give a real Christmas gift to a child in need. Results were exciting - 90% of supporters were new to The Children’s Society - and they were keen to build on that success. 

In March, they launched Give Joy 2.0. Then lockdown hit. The dialogue changed. Give Joy was paused - shelved until normality returned. 

Until... it wasn’t. The Children’s Society gave us a call: with resilience and agility, they’d decided to pivot. So we did! Together, we re-thought and adapted the proposition in a month. Give Joy became Give Hope. And the audience loved it. 

We’ve invited Andy, Innovation Manager at The Children’s Society, to chat with Tara, the lead Consultant, about the lessons from this lockdown success story. 

As always, we don’t have all the answers, but perhaps we can share a little hope.

11:37:20 Tara Protheroe 
Hey Andy, how’s life? How did Give Hope do? Were the results as good as you “hoped”? (groan!) 

11:38:06 Andy Connolly  

Hi Tara! Life is good - well, for 2020 anyway! 

Give Hope smashed it. We weren’t sure what to expect, but we doubled or tripled most of the targets we'd set out. The CPA has been amazing, but we’re really excited by the regular giving potential - 15% of the people we’ve asked have committed to a direct debit! 

There’s been some great feedback from donors, too. 

11:43:01 Tara Protheroe 

That’s fantastic! It’s been fab to see it really resonate on Facebook, and we never expected that interest in RG!

Think back to March: remember how gutted we were when we paused Give Joy? 

11:44:05  Andy Connolly 

Yeah! So gutted. 

Give Joy worked well for Christmas, but it was too happy and inappropriate during a pandemic. The tone and content really needed an overhaul. 

11:45:12 Tara Protheroe 

It just shows the power of believing in an idea, but not being so attached to the detail that you can’t adapt when you need to.

How have internal teams been responding to the quick pivot?

11:47:42 Andy Connolly 

Really well, actually. We got so much support from colleagues across TCS to get the changes done and out the door. 

Particularly the Digital and Marketing Teams, who were so busy. And everyone who rallied together to get things signed off outside of normal timelines. That was a big challenge. 

11:50:57 Tara Protheroe

Do you think it helped that we were still in “piloting” mode? It definitely allowed us to draw in some more agile resource (particularly Ed & Naomi, our awesome developer and designer). 

We could involve the internal teams, but also not take tooooo much of their time away from other things.

11:52:22 Andy Connolly 

It being a pilot definitely helped. Everyone is supportive, but with pilots it's easier to be flexible and try things out. 

11:52:22 Tara Protheroe 

Yeah. The mindset and that willingness to test (and potentially fail!) has really paid off. 

Let’s not pretend it was all roses, though. Remember all the late nights getting it out the door?

11:53:23 Andy Connolly 

Haha, always.

But I think focus helped us there. We honed in on Hope. We didn’t try to change everything: only what was really needed to make it work. 

11:54:00  Tara Protheroe 

You know what made me so proud? The frontline services teams. They were fantastic, updating us on the items that were needed and giving us more quotes. All while they were making deliveries themselves by bike and on foot! 

11:54:45  Andy Connolly 

The whole project relies on the CYP Team. They’re what it’s all about - getting the items that are needed to the kids, and telling the story of their impact. 

11:55:30 Tara Protheroe 

^^ Totally. The whole appeal is that people want to give something that’s really… real.

We know donors crave tangibility, but delivering that can be daunting - financial processes, systems. It can put a lot of charities off. 

11:56:00 Andy Connolly 

It was definitely daunting. Remember back to last year? 

11:55:30 Tara Protheroe 

Yes! Lots of logistics and planning. But we managed it! The back-end processes are there, the teams are on board. And now the value’s clear, and you can keep building on it. 

Aren’t you glad we didn’t water down the concept? We’ve really fought to make it more than a shopping list.  

11:56:12 Andy Connolly 

100%. The “real gift” aspect is what makes it work. I will fight to keep the tangibility!

But the gift alone isn’t everything. We’ve really needed to thank our supporters, show our impact and take them on a journey into other aspects of what we do.

11:58:08 Tara Protheroe

Yes, that ongoing journey is vital. Based on the number of people who are keen to give a regular gift, you must be hitting the mark. Any tips to share? 

11:59:50 Andy Connolly 

Well… we focused a lot on thanking people, and on telling stories of the gifts’ impact directly from the front line.

But it’s also about telling a wider story, and showing new supporters just how much The Children’s Society does to help children across the country.

How have you found the emails, as a donor? 

12:03:30 Tara Protheroe

They’re great! You’ve shared some really powerful stories and let the voices of staff and children shine through. 

We’re through lockdown, but it all feels a bit uncertain now: Covid is far from over. The economic fallout and mental health impact might be with us for years to come.  How do you think that will impact Give Joy / Give Hope moving forward? 

12:04:40 Andy Connolly 

I think "covid times" mean you're naturally more isolated. It’s easier to understand how these children can feel. We help some of the country’s most vulnerable kids. And the gaps are likely to widen even further.

And of course, there’s the chance of a second wave and lockdown.

12:05:00 Tara Protheroe

The dreaded second wave. We’re all braced for it.

The thing I love about Give Hope is that immediate feeling of making a difference. Buying a gift puts a big smile on my face. 

That will be really important in the months to come - particularly as we enter a recession, and money is even tighter. 

12:05:40 Andy Connolly 

Completely. It all goes back to the name change: we need some hope in these uncertain times. 

12:06:20 Tara Protheroe

We really do.

Also, I’ll just put  it out there that I think the name “Give Hope” was my brainwave? :P

12:06:51  Andy Connolly 

We're a team Tara. Maybe I inspired you ;)

12:07:02 Tara Protheroe

I’ll take that! 

We are a team, stretching far beyond this blog. 

Thank you so much to…

Maja Vucicevic 

David Boorman

Anna Macbride

Matt Summers-Sparks

Amy Dennis

And everyone at The Children’s Society.

Naomi Bassey 

Ed Whicher 

And the team at Good Innovation. 

And the whole team at The Kite Factory.