With over 5000 employees, 17000 volunteers and a 150-year heritage, Barnardo’s is the largest children’s charity in the UK. Barnardo’s offer essential support, care and welfare services to families, children and young people, from fostering and adoption to child protection to assisting young carers, domestic abuse victims and homeless young people.

Of Barnardo’s annual income of over £300 million, 85% comes from government and local authority funding. Increasing their share of revenue from voluntary fundraising and private donations was essential but there were two major barriers:-

1.      Perception of Barnardo’s were outdated and there was a lack of public understanding of their services.

2.     Barnardo’s were being outspent in media by other children’s charities. Low share-of-voice was restricting their ability to change perceptions and raise funds. We had to prove the effectiveness of media to justify further investment. 


Barnardo’s, FCB Inferno and JAA developed the Believe in Me campaign in 2019 to overcome these barriers to sustained income generation. Believe In Me was communicated through an integrated strategy in which every channel and platform had a clearly defined role. We devised a plan which reflected the diversity of our target groups and connected their unique donor journeys across many touchpoints.

Our strategy had three main pillars:-

1.      Blending emotional storytelling and rational persuasion

2.     Closer integration of brand and fundraising activity

3.      Carefully-phased multiple exposures across extended periods to sustain growth

A four-month campaign was led by TV, our primary vehicle for generating reach and delivering essential emotional impact.

Mainstream channels were supported by Broadcast Video on Demand. To reflect the nuances of users’ digital journeys we devised a layered plan using paid social, programmatic display and PPC to supply a continuous flow of prospects - “keeping the taps on”.

Emotional and rational messages were integrated into a three-phase Launch, Pulse and Christmas campaign. We refined our strategy to engage existing and new Barnardo’s audiences via Mosaic and TGI analysis, customising messages for specific journey stages. Deep segmentation of primary audiences like “Alpha Families” created tailored journeys based on demographic profiles, attitudes, lifestyles and media preferences. A/B testing explored returns from audiences outside our core group, such as “Classic Grandparents”.

Barnardo’s cause was made relevant in the most motivating way for each specific group. Our rational messaging explaining how to donate fed off the emotional connection created by TV and video, each campaign element reinforcing the other.


Since Believe In Me launched results have surpassed expectations with increases of 15-25% in:-

·        visits to Barnardo’s website

·        page views on site

·        average gift for all donations made on site

Barnardo’s YouGov Brand Tracker study illustrated our success in overcoming the barriers we identified. Measures for “propensity to donate” amongst ABC1 Adults increased by 15% within one year whilst 55% of women with children claimed they were more likely to donate. Barnardo’s achieved record logo recognition. All key brand health metrics showed increases, notably for “belief in cause” and “reputation”.

The campaign generated overwhelmingly positive PR coverage and gained widespread recognition across the charitable sector and advertising industry. JAA’s contribution was acknowledged when we won the 2019 award for Best TV Media Buying in the ‘Government, Social & Political Organisation’ category (MediaSense 2019 awards). 


Barnardos - Believe in Me

This is a story of how media planning and buying delivered large outcomes on a small media budgets when outspent by the rest of their direct competitors.

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