When you think of face to face fundraising, you might think of the more traditional methods of street fundraising, door to door or private sites. But it’s a saturated market and charities are constantly coming up with new ways to make their cause stand out.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is turning face to face fundraising on its head with an interactive exhibit featured at events such as British Summer Time, Camp Bestival and Latitude. Built from equipment that their staff use in warzones, MSF provides a glimpse into the work that they do by creating an environment that reflects the reality that they operate in. The tents that they pitch are the same ones that they use in the field, and they are filled with equipment and picture boards of supplies and medicines that are crucial to providing essential healthcare where it’s needed. There’s even a decommissioned LandRover that was used in the Kosovo War that people can climb into, putting themselves in the shoes of MSF doctors working in conflict areas.
Accompanying this immersive environment is a photo series that tells the story of MSF within the context of the refugee crisis; not only on the ground in Syria but in refugee camps in Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. There are also photos of their search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean that prevent people from drowning at sea, as lifejackets collected from the Greek island of Lesbos are scattered on the ground below. Everywhere you turn, there is a reflection of the moments where MSF helps the world’s most vulnerable people.
Anyone who enters the tent can also experience the work MSF does through virtual reality goggles. After a makeshift refugee camp in horrific conditions was dismantled in Dunkirk, France, MSF rebuilt another one close by. They replaced the poorly insulated structures beleaguered by flooding with fully winterised tents, proper latrines and appropriate waste disposal facilities. With the assistance of 360 degree panoramic cameras, this new camp is brought closer to potential donors via virtual reality, inviting them to imagine themselves in the same situation.
Alongside this powerful engagement is an equally compelling donor ask; MSF fundraisers at the events work side by side with expats who have been in the field, giving first hand accounts of what it’s really like to work on the frontlines with MSF.
After originally implementing this fundraising experience at the British Summer Time music festival, MSF was inspired to expand to other events after being invited to accompany the band Muse on the 48 date European leg of their Drones tour. Coordinating with international MSF offices across Europe, they set up a compact version of the exhibit in the arena to interact with audience members.
Statistically, donor sign up rates have drastically improved since setting up the exhibit. By focusing on the legitimacy of the the donor experience while also empowering the voices of MSF staff and patients, Médecins Sans Frontières has created a transformational way to implement face to face fundraising.
To find out more about fundraising for MSF call 01616410005