Charity begins out of home

Despite being a relatively cynical person, seeing so many people make a solid effort to help victims of the Ukrainian invasion boosts my faith in humanity. While responses to the conflict warm my heart, I now can’t help thinking about charitable behaviour in general. My brain’s been specifically occupied with thoughts about how the creative industry could help make society more giving. From banking OOH to FMCG paid social, I reckon there’s a lot more we could do to normalise everyday charitableness. Hear me out.

We all know being charitable is good. We know it’s good to donate our money, clothes, time, and even blood, but how many of us actually do? And regularly too? Research shows 25% of Brits say they donate money monthly. That’s brilliant, but there’s definitely room to grow. Here’s a thought…isn’t it strange that the creative industry produces so many charity ads, but doesn’t do nearly enough to make generosity more standard? I mean we all know it isn’t really normal to give often, so why aren’t we fixing that problem first?

Here’s are some ideas on how we do that in all our work:

Normalising planned giving

We’ve all seen the bank, fintech, and budget planner ads with dashboards on display. Next to the electricity bills, morning coffees, and holiday savings, let’s sneak in standing orders for donations, or even a “Give to Homeless” pot – looking at you, Monzo. One of the browser bookmarks in your next laptop scene or static could be for “Versus Arthritis”. A reminder in your next calendar shot could say “Donate to Macmillan”. The JustGiving app could sit close to Instagram on that phone screen. I could go on, and I shall.

Normalising casual giving

Could your main character pop some coins in a homeless man’s cup while walking down the high-street? Could a background extra casually drop a bag of clothes in a donation bin? Could a character speaking about their week drop in a charitable activity? Could your grocery shopper put money in the charity box while at the till? Could they pop food they just bought in the food collection bin mid-speech? Food for thought.

Normalising active giving

Yes, cooking for loved ones makes sense, but your next kitchen appliance TVC could also show one of the cooks taking that delicious meal to a shelter (even when it’s not Christmas). Your characterful characters could be in the middle of volunteering when we meet them, why not? Instead of boosting credit scores from dentist chairs, we could be boosting them while giving blood – similar seating position, different activity. Just saying.

This isn’t an exhaustive list. I’m not a behaviour change expert, I just think it’s a good idea. Don’t worry, I’m not naïve either. I know most people reading this won’t do a thing, and that’s fair, but at least now it’s in the back of your head, and that’s good enough for me.

By Shaun Okoh

This is a new site, your feedback will help us to improve it. © 2022 M&C Saatchi London.