9 lessons we can learn from recessions gone by


Like the rest of the sector, we are monitoring the headlines and news reports around the cost of living crisis on charity giving – from CAF in March sharing that 59% of charity leaders shared concerns that people will not continue or begin to donate to their cause because of the crisis, whilst at the same time 14% of the public are stating they were planning to cut back on giving.

But, unlike the projection of doom for charitable support, we are staying positive. It’s clear the challenges our nation faces are putting pressure on us all, not least within the charity giving space, but we are focussed on building on proactive lessons from the past to focus on the positive opportunities which lay ahead.


Get the experience right and the supporters will stay!

Where charities have invested in helping make those bonds between supporters and their causes as powerful as possible through structured and robust supporter journeys, the results are evident in retention.

Honesty is key.

Being sincere and open about the growing needs of the charity’s beneficiaries at this time, and doing so in an open and genuine way will refresh supporters perceptions of why you’re so vital in making the world a better place – and importantly, their role as a supporter in enabling this.

Story-telling with purpose.

Online film does this brilliantly. Charities have been leading the purpose-led arena with authenticity for years before the recent advertising sector focus – being able to tell compelling stories is at the heart of what you do and shouldn’t be underestimated in the coming years.

Stay connected.

Many people like to feel part of the solution, a community of like-minded people with a shared vision for how to help. This is broader than simply two way social media communities, it goes right down into the propositions used and the feelings we wish to invoke in supporters.


In a changing world, it’s important to remain relevant and for funding and product models to reflect peoples changing lives and their needs.

Focus on the big things.

The cliché is 20% of work drives 80% of income. Whilst we may all debate the ratio, focussing on doing fewer things better is key as it drives a better return and can create a stronger experience. It’s also easier to deliver!

Be prepared to collaborate.

Being open to partnering with other charities or corporates where your values can align can be hugely beneficial – although, like dating, clearly someone needs to be proactive enough to make the first move!

Jeopardy is not always appealing.

Every day can’t always be an emergency, otherwise it can wear thin. Longevity of vision and the ability to deliver it is important to drive the more sustainable income. Focus on the cause and the supporter’s role in that cause. Too many emergency appeals can work against you!

Stay positive.

As a sector and as an individual cause – this is our moment!

Don't be afraid to seek help.

That’s where Campfire come in.

How Campfire can help

To be truly proactive, you need to get fully immersed in your audiences – their needs, their attitudes, their world. Only then can we create meaningful experiences, connect with their hearts, and innovate with the confidence of success.

Campfire’s optimism comes from knowing we have a brilliant track record across strategy, creativity and everything in between. We can help you with:

  • Audience journeys and experiences which truly engender long-term relationships – playing the long game through the recession
  • Research and insight to your audiences and supporters – keeping close to them, co-creating opportunities, translating this into effective creative communications and campaigns
  • Creative innovation: ensuring the cause remains relevant, true to brand, and true to what your audiences need – being courageous in what you test to optimise performance
  • Delivery focussed, from film to digital to print. Whilst we are optimistic about the long-term opportunities, we are experts in driving income and response by keeping causes relevant and engaging in an evolving world
For more information on how we can help (and where we’ve done it before), please get in touch with Paul Handley.