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Crisis 2020

Crisis 2020

Crisis Paid Social & Programmatic.

Crisis is the national charity for homeless people, aiming to end homelessness for good. The charity helps people out of homelessness through education, employment, housing and well-being centres. 

The iconic ‘Crisis at Christmas’ campaign has run since 1972 and helps Crisis provide warm meals, shelter, support and companionship, with the aim of helping homeless people take their first steps out of homelessness.


decrease in CPA 2019 vs. 2020


increase in revenue 2019 vs. 2020


increase in donations 2019 vs. 2020

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The Problem.

In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic meant that Crisis were forced to close their centres. This presented fundraising challenges, such as the redundancy of the core ‘Reserve a Place’ proposition and a reduction in opportunities for traditional fundraising.

With Christmas such a key time for Crisis’ fundraising efforts, Catalyst and Uprise Up’s digital campaign needed to overcome these challenges and step up from the 2019 campaign.

The Solution.

After the success of the Crisis at Christmas campaign in 2019, avoidance of complacency was key. Core aspects of the campaign were never concrete, including budgets, spend distribution between channels and the channel-mix itself. The expansion of the channel mix, testing of both channel and creative execution and format and the use of the GMP Floodlight tracking to assess the impact of each, and the replacement of Facebook with Paid Search to become the main driver of revenue, were all decisions made as a result of a resolve against complacency. Continuous testing, transparent data and resolve to respond to the ever-changing digital landscape were essential for growth.

Results in detail.

By acting upon learnings and pursuing continuous improvement, the campaign greatly exceeded objectives. The £6.6 million of revenue raised meant that Crisis were able to directly provide support to 2,004 people experiencing homelessness over the Christmas period.

YoY increase in revenue

The Crisis at Christmas campaign 2020 achieved £6.6m in revenue, an 817% increase on 2019.



YoY decrease in CPA

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) improved from £17.50 in 2019 to £6.60 in 2020 – a 62% YoY decrease.

“The Pandemic has had a considerable impact on people facing homelessness. Christmas is an important time of year when it can be really tough for people. We wanted to do all we can to help those we work alongside and the campaign had very stretching targets. In fact higher than last year, and with all the economic uncertainty we knew it would be tough. Also we had to change our proposition this year as the pandemic meant we could not run our Christmas centres due to coronavirus  restrictions.

Catalyst created a new “Homeless and Alone” proposition that resonated well with the public and captured the mood of the nation. This was a significant shift but it worked incredibly well. Catalyst created a strategy that has delivered amazingly well. Flexibility of thinking and buying plus brilliant creative meant that we were able get our message across despite coronavirus and Brexit dominating the news agenda. Catalyst/Uprise Up were fantastic, constant monitoring and risk management meant the campaign achieved remarkable results. 300% more donations against target, over £6 million in revenue against a target of £1.63 million plus higher average gift levels. We will be able to do so much to end homelessness thanks to this brilliant campaign from Catalyst/Uprise Up.”

Helen Radia, Head of Individual Supporters


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