Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO): Shakespeare Lives Fundraising Campaign


Voluntary Services Overseas is an international development charity whose vision is ‘a world without poverty’. VSO was selected as the charity partner for the 2016 Shakespeare Lives campaign led by Number 10 under the umbrella of the GREAT campaign. The focus of the partnership was to support VSO’s work in supporting the education of those living in the poorest communities across the world.

The brief:

Our role was to create a unique and compelling core idea that could be activated across their own and their partners’ digital channels. This needed to inspire people to donate to the charity and strengthen the charity’s brand affinity amongst key target audiences.

Our approach:

The key challenge was getting multiple stakeholders on the same page. Shakespeare Lives, although funded by the GREAT campaign, was owned primarily by the British Council with strands of activity being delivered through VisitBritain and UKTI.

How might this fundraising campaign be relevant to all stakeholders – and yet inspire the public to put their hands in their pockets and support the vital work of VSO in some of the poorest nations across the world?

Individual face-to-face interviews with key decision makers and developing consensus for direction of travel, based on a deep dive into published insights, provided us with a platform of knowledge on which to develop some big ideas to explore and refine.

A proposition built around ‘shared acts of humanity’ emerged the winner: Act £One describes one act: one text; one donation of £1. The first ‘act’ in a story, which leads to subsequent acts of kindness to help support a child’s education. A simple mechanic was designed to encourage donations online and at physical Shakespeare events and partner campaigns.



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