New Zealand has one of the highest rates of family violence in the world, and things are only getting worse. Women’s Refuge received twice as many referrals in 2020 compared to 2016, while public donations to charities have flatlined over the same period.
We needed to convince a much wider audience to reach into their wallets. That meant being bold and unexpected to cut through the plethora of other causes competing for limited donor dollars. We wanted to flip the traditional narrative and be positive and upbeat, making it easier for prospective donors to see the good they could do.
Instead of simply asking New Zealanders to give money, we now ask them to ‘Gift a Safe Night’ by booking a room on behalf of women in need. This change has re-framed Women’s Refuge in the eyes of the public – from victim support to an accommodation provider helping people escape to safety. And New Zealanders now know exactly how their money is being used. Every $20 donated provides a room for one night for a woman and her children.
To promote the Gift A Safe Night campaign, we recruited Kiwi actress Miranda Harcourt. And our bespoke digital platform made booking an escape as easy as booking any other getaway.
Safe Nights became a powerful brand platform, able to connect to culture at key moments throughout the year. During the COVID lockdown, when Women’s Refuge experienced a 35% increase in referrals, we reminded people that many women and children were in unsafe bubbles, sparking a groundswell of social nominations to book Safe Nights.
In 2020 we generated $4.15m in donations to Women’s Refuge. Their most ever. That’s a 300% year-on-year increase. All for a marketing investment of just $100,000 – an ROI of 41:1.
With an 87% year-on-year increase in donors, we succeeded in our mission to attract new supporters.
Most importantly, in a year when staying safe was more important than ever, we helped vulnerable women and children enjoy 207,500 nights free from the threat of family violence.