Every year over two thirds of Australian charities struggle to find enough volunteers. SEEK Volunteer is a website dedicated to helping all Australian charities to find volunteers. Since its inception it has failed to make any real impact, Leo Burnett Melbourne wanted more people to know about SEEK Volunteer, and the positive impact it could have. Volunteering is an attitude, not a demographic. So they targeted potential volunteers everywhere, regardless of age or background. From teens wanting a cleaner environment to pensioners looking to help through church groups. The audience was anyone who would put their hand up to volunteer.
People choose to volunteer for many reasons and for many causes (from animal welfare, to emergency services, to age and disability care). Distinct life-stage sub-segments exist which are driven by specific motivations eg. school leavers looking to expand their social horizons and gain career experience; or empty nesters with time on their hands, who are looking for social contact and want to give something back to their community.
But trying to chase down specific target groups could have been a big distraction for Leo Burnett. A valid approach, with their tiny budget, may have been to pick off one of these segments with a tightly targeted, insight-driven digital campaign.
But they thought this would be missing something. While they might go deep, they wouldn’t be able to go broad. To deliver the numbers they needed, they had to create mass awareness of SEEK Volunteer – get the message out there and get volunteering talked about.
But SEEK weren’t going to get far with a budget of US$76k. So Leo Burnett devised the strategy to promote volunteering by enlisting media owners, celebrities and individuals to do it for them. They asked them to literally volunteer themselves to promote volunteering. The proposition was: “SEEK Volunteer needs your help to find more volunteers”
The solution: launch a mass participation idea that would remind the whole country of the power of volunteering. This space was volunteered to promote volunteering. One simple statement was purposely constructed so that it could be adapted to any space, anywhere.
Through an online media kit industry and individuals would take our message and volunteer to spread it through the communication channels they had access to – large-scale supersites, prime time TV spots and even profile pictures. Creating the ultimate demonstration of volunteering and its impact. The online media kit remains active today because SEEK will always need volunteers.
People registered to volunteer with charities through the website in unprecedented numbers. Over the course of the 3 week campaign, SEEK received 5,437 registrations. Registration levels were sustained for months following the campaign. By the end of December, a total of 24,211 new volunteers had registered with charities - 20,840 more than would have been expected had the campaign not happened (based on projected registrations). To date, over 45,000 Australians have put up their hand to volunteer, raising over AUD $18 million in labour value.