Grand Ideas is a re-gifting project which Rutland & Leicestershire Wildlife Trust ran as a competition. I was recently contracted to develop the campaign and work as an engagement officer for it.
This is what happened …
Charity campaign work
The last few years have been tough for everybody. Especially the public sector. Schools, youth projects and charities have all struggled to provide service and move forward, however local charities and projects sometimes come together to provide a glimmer of possibility.
The premise of the Grand Ideas competition was to engage 10-20 year olds. They had to look at how their local environment could be improved. The winners with the best ideas would receive a prize of £1000 to use for the project they had come up with.
Glastonbury and a pint of flat cider
I remembered watching Sir David Attenborough at Glastonbury Festival last year on tv, with my youngest. The acts my youngest most enjoyed were Dave (sadly not Attenborough but the grime artist) and Stormzy (who totally nailed it).
Glastonbury is ace. I went in 1990. I especially remember drinking flat cider out of plastic pint glasses, whilst watching Sinead O’Connor, The Cure and World Party with my art college crew.
Things were very different at Glastonbury this year. Glastonbury had managed to go single use plastic free.
Recycling plastic is not the way forward. Plastic is not a cost effective material to recycle. When it is recycled it is more often than not spun into synthetic fibres. Moreover the resulting fabric/textiles will never biodegrade. That dodgy fleece is with you forever.
Campaign concept and creation
I worked out the concept for the campaign and drew this up into a storyboard. I presented this to the stakeholders at the Wildlife Trust and together we honed it.
Visually I wanted the content to have an edgy vibe in order to attract the teenage market. The content needed to attract both a male and female centric audience. After searching through the photographs I’ve taken over the years I found a photo of the back of a skinhead’s head and some butterflies from a friend’s natural history collection which I’d photographed as part of a research project. I found some quotes which would get the audiences’ attention and designed the whole lot into a series of infographics.
Stormzy and going plastic free made a good campaign hook and I did some loose illustrations to lighten the overall vibe. The application form was then designed so that it was simple to fill in.
Once approved the content was output as direct mail, social media content and as press releases.
The direct mail was produced as a four page postcard which was printed onto a heavy weight recycled stock to make it “feel” important, whilst the social media content was output through the Wildlife Trust facebook and twitter feeds.
My leads list was a starting point from which I did some phone calls and mail shot posting. Many entries came in. They were an interesting set of entrants, with ideas covering subjects such as period poverty, outdoor classrooms, ponds, upgrading recycling schemes and art made from waste materials.
The Grand Ideas project has taught me how important it is to engage stakeholders meaningfully, how hard it is to get people to volunteer and the importance of community groups meaningfully engaging with their local community.
Obviously we are now in pretty tough times. I work on flexible terms and can be commissioned on a day rate or project rate as a contractor or a freelancer. I have always worked to budgets and deadlines and am flexible with payment as and when needed. Equally if you are a charity I will always adapt to suit your budgets (as I did with Wildlife Trust).