Philanthropy in the Social Media Era
A new communication strategy, concept, and identity across channels to help the network of Italian foundations to spread unity and solidarity values.
Every year since 2013, on 1 October, the European network of national foundation associations (Dafne) - of which Acri and Assifero are members - has promoted The European Day of Foundations and Donors. On this date, events, conventions and shows are held all over the continent, in order to give foundations, which are often ignored by the general public but which, together with the world of voluntary work and the third sector, contribute to nourishing and innovating welfare and culture throughout Europe, wider and more shared recognition at EU level.
The event involves more than 147,000 foundations and philanthropic institutions in 28 European countries. It is an opportunity for reflection, discussion and celebration, much appreciated by professionals but unknown to most. ACRI asked us to work on a new communication strategy for the European Day of Foundations and Donors in the Italian national context.
The challenge was to identify a strategy shared by all Italian foundations that would also be able to intrigue their communities.
Our aim was to design a message that would not only cover some of the foundations' fields of action (the what), but the values that underpin their actions (the why). In order to be able to involve citizens more closely, the request included the construction of a social campaign with an editorial plan and Call To Action.
We imagined and realised a series of synchronised campaigns between the various participating bodies with the possibility of being reinforced by events realised on the occasion of the Day by foundation stakeholders in the various territories through the activation of media partnerships, the involvement of testimonials and the opening of collaborations with schools.
The focus of the event was to be on the importance of the Third Sector and how its work should be assessed, especially in terms of the impact its efforts have on the territory and communities.
One of the most stimulating aspects of the project was that of being able to think over 3 years, imagining how the event could be transformed over time. With this in mind, we opted for a strategy spread over the three-year period, with each year featuring a different Call To Action.
The idea was to create a series of events (digital and non-digital) designed to develop and expand over the years.
The aim of the campaigns spread over the three-year period was to accompany citizens of all levels in a path of discovery, awareness and finally participation. To do this, the route was broken down into:
Year 1 -> Discovering the Third Sector and the role of Foundations in the territory
Year 2 -> Sympathising with the Third Sector and starting to interact with the community
Year 3 -> Acting personally as protagonist of change
Focusing on the value of the action of Third Sector operators has proved to be a winning choice from the point of view of the participation of organisations throughout Italy.
Year 1: Discover
The first year's campaign had to focus on the discovery of the Third Sector and the role played by Foundations in the territory. But how can we manage to describe in a single slogan the work of such a vast number of Foundations with very different resources and acting in very different fields, ranging from the fight against educational poverty, through human rights to the preservation of cultural and environmental heritage?
We have succeeded with the hashtag #quantocambia by identifying a common thread that focuses attention not so much on the activities of foundations nor on the amount of resources they deploy to implement their projects, but rather on the values that all foundations (of banking and non-banking origin) have in common and that underpin their work in different sectors.
How much does joining forces change? How much does it change to work together to change the meaning of things? Cooperating and believing in the activation of the community, working to remove the obstacles that prevent the full development of the person, encouraging change to generate real progress that improves societies: this is the action of foundations that the campaign has described over the course of four weeks.
Between the months of September and October 2019, he managed to increase the activity of the Foundations' social pages by 90%.
Together with ACRI, we planned a real online Flash-Mob that first activated the Foundations, which we asked to post some posts on their social channels following a concerted editorial plan able to guarantee maximum coverage during the various stages of the days and weeks, and then managed to involve all those who shared the values of solidarity and pluralism underlying the Foundations' work, who were able to participate in the campaign by posting an image on their social channels with the hashtag #quantocambia.
Year 2: Sympathise
The year 2020 caught us unawares with a global pandemic that has disrupted our lives and will remain in the common imagination forever. Despite the state of emergency under Covid-19, the Italian Foundations decided not to miss this October 1st - proof of their well-established perseverance - not only without interrupting the celebrations but even raising the tone.
At 11:00 a.m. they all performed a rendition of the Ode to Joy, the official anthem of the European Union, and then proceeded into the evening with a succession of meetings, presentations, exhibitions and workshops to tell the many stories of social inclusion promoted by the Foundations. With the aim of launching a strong message of hope, we have come up with the name #risuonaitalia and produced a promotional video to boost energy and arouse curiosity.
For Foundations Day 2020, we took to the streets - virtual and otherwise - with more than 10,000 musicians in 50 Italian cities for one of the largest simultaneous concerts in the country.
Especially this year, the European Day of Foundations was intended to be an opportunity to launch an appeal for a new start together in the name of solidarity and community spirit. The youth orchestras involved are in fact the expression of projects to combat educational poverty and school drop-outs, as well as musical training of excellence.
From Turin to Palermo, from Milan to Naples, they have involved young people as protagonists of training projects and initiatives for individual and community redemption, activated thanks to the "networking" of Third Sector organisations, with foundations, local institutions and young people. Orchestras of young classical music talents and children learning to play in cultural centres and community centres, multi-ethnic orchestras, jazz and popular music ensembles. They have come together all over the country: from cities to small towns, from North to South, from the suburbs to inland areas. Because playing music together means learning to live together and to share rules and emotions. For many of the boys and girls who take part in these concerts, music represents a concrete opportunity to realise their dreams, and in many cases a real alternative to educational poverty or street violence.
1 October was an opportunity to share these experiences with the whole community, both locally and nationally; it also brought to the attention of institutions and public opinion the necessary recovery of the 'centrality' of children and young people, with their needs, dreams and expectations. It proved to be an opportunity to promote and relaunch an idea of a country that is based on solidarity and social cohesion and that aims to enhance the new generations.
Year 3: Act!
For the last stage of the three-year period, art was chosen as a language capable of involving different and new audiences. The initiative involved the creation of an original work of art in a space in the city that was emblematic of the Foundation's activities, in order to produce a lasting impression. Each participating foundation was invited to involve its partners in the creation of the works, which were inaugurated and "unveiled" on 1 October.
The murals were created using the same matrix but unleashed the creativity and uniqueness of each community, which interpreted the theme in a variety of ways. In fact, the murals were transformed into testimonies of different stories and places, united by the fact that they are the space in which the Foundations' daily activities are carried out: accompanying the community in caring for the territory and its inhabitants.
The campaign of 1 October 2021 took place under the name "Non sono un murales - Segni di comunità" (I'm not a mural - Signs of community), touching 120 places in Italy and involving various communities in the creation of a choral work of art.
1,000 children, young people, artists, teachers, prisoners, disabled people, migrants were involved in guided tours to create a mural based on a common stencil.
The stencil was created for the occasion by street artist Luca Di Bari (LDB). The interventions were carried out in many different places: schools, playgrounds, community centres in difficult neighbourhoods, properties confiscated from crime and converted into community activities, facilities for the employment of the disabled, parks and much more. The complete list can be found on the map on this page: