British Trust for Ornithology – Autumn Appeal

Supporting the surveyors of the future through an appeal campaign.

The challenge.

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) delivers innovative research that helps safeguard the future for Britain’s birds. To fund this vital research, BTO regularly looks to their committed and passionate cohort of members for support throughout the year, but with a 21% drop in income in the past year, a new appeal would need to engage, inspire and ultimately deliver results.

Our approach.

Always audience-first, we required a deeper understanding of what would inspire BTO’s members to donate, or engage lapsed members to rejoin. Through in-depth interviews we could discover what would motivate them to donate further and help support the organisation they cherish. Alongside an understanding of the strategic objectives for BTO, we could define a relevant and impactful appeal proposition.

The solution.

Our audience insights led us to an appeal which answered the deep desire to support the future of BTO as an organisation, an appeal which isn’t focussed on a particular bird species, but on the life-blood of BTO – its community.

With only 4% of membership under the age of 30, the appeal would communicate the essential need for funding ensuring that our members’ passion for birds is passed on to the next generation of scientists, researchers, volunteers and enthusiasts. ‘Our future. It’s in your hands’ encapsulates the united effort to secure BTO’s longevity and inspire immediate action.

The focus on ‘the surveyors of the future’ can be seen in the campaign strapline and also the visual language with the outline of a young surveyor hinting at the fragility of the future. The rich autumnal palette reflects the time of year of the appeal, and imagery speaks not of specific bird species but at the joy of being out in nature, making a difference to the world in which they live.

With nuanced messaging and defined user journeys, our multi-channel approach was tailored to each audience and, alongside campaign guidelines, we delivered assets spanning print, direct mail, email, digital and social media.

BTO Autumn Appeal letter and envelope

The results.

The appeal resonated closely with many supporters, who connected with the protection of an organisation they love, and with a desire to share BTO with younger generations. In its first 90 days, the appeal raised an incredible £80,000 and brought 135 lapsed members back to the organisation. 



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