Reigniting a connection to cause

The United Way exists to strengthen communities by providing support for children, immigrants and vulnerable populations. For over twenty years, Climb the CN Tower had been a signature fundraising event for The United Way, however the event had been experiencing a year over year softening in public participation. In July 2017, The United Way and media marketing firm The Collective hired Aegis to reinvent the aging event brand. From the start, the intention wasn’t simply to refresh the brand, but to establish a new platform for engagement.

United Way

Research

Brand Identity

Brand Communications

Multi-Media Design

Understanding who we were reaching
A charity brand should be a call to action. As such, anthropological research provides us an understanding of cultural triggers and their contexts. Our preliminary research into target audiences highlighted a number of useful insights—from the strength of community values; the rejection of marketing in favour of authenticity; to the currency of social media.

Our strategy changed shape as new audience insights revealed how social participation and philanthropy are anchored to a cultural notion of cosmopolitanism. This was our aha moment. Since our mission was to build a culturally relevant brand—the tone, design and language of the campaign needed to mean something. In this case, cultural relevance meant embodying the values of cosmopolitanism.

An interdisciplinary design process
Through an interdisciplinary creative process, our team explored a range of strategies and approaches. But one concept tested best. It seemed to break from tradition and deliver on the right note. This was UP, a new rallying cry for civic philanthropy.

Adoption leads to strong results
Strong creative needs strong media marketing strategy. Our partner, The Collective, delivered the campaign to audiences through a grassroots media strategy, grounded in social media. While we consider the UP campaign’s first year a pilot, performance metrics have already validated the strategy, revealing strong adoption and community engagement.

+29%

This year, our new campaign for United Way produced a 29% increase in participation

$1,688m

The increased participation yielded a record fundraising total

+27%

Fundraising results reveal a 27% increase over the previous year with a higher pledge level per participant and a lower attrition rate

+29%

This year, our new campaign for United Way produced a 29% increase in participation

+27%

Fundraising results reveal a 27% increase over the previous year with a higher pledge level per participant and a lower attrition rate

$1,688m

The increased participation yielded a record fundraising total