A public SMS and online donation campaign to raise resources to support a salient issue.

Case study

The Turkish Red Crescent Society organized a ‘Don’t Ignore the Syrians’ campaign, a public SMS and online donation campaign to raise resources to support their operations for Syrians. The campaign was initiated in December 2015 and provided the option for Turkish people to provide a small donation of 10 Turkish lira (~3 US dollars) via an SMS message. To donate, users of the major phone networks (Turkcell, Avea and Vodafone) send an SMS containing the word ‘Syria’ to a special number (2868). A special number, 168, was also allocated to allow for donations via phone call. Individuals could also go to a bank and directly make a donation to the Turkish Red Crescent Society.

Within the first three months, 500,000 people (~0.6 per cent of the population) had texted to provide a donation, raising approximately 4.5 million Turkish lira (~1.5 million US dollars). The donations were then pooled together for the Red Crescent to use for programming concerning the Syrian response. Social media, TV messaging, and billboard advertisements were used to raise awareness amongst the general population about the campaign. Additionally, the Turkish Red Crescent Society’s website was used to provide further details on the situation. All clicks as a result of internet advertising redirected the viewer to the page.

  • The campaign was initiated in late 2015 to draw the attention of Turkish people to the winter needs of Syrians. This placed a short time limit to raise donations for the winter season.
Lessons learned
  • It was important to use the ‘Don’t Ignore the Syrians’ This was seen as a memorable campaign slogan that evoked emotion and maximized public engagement.
  • The involvement of all departments of the Turkish Red Crescent Society provided a wealth of feedback and ideas which were used to refine the campaign and improve the overall design.
  • Existing public trust in the Turkish Red Crescent Society was key to canvassing support, people knew that if they gave money it would be used for the stated purpose.