Fishing for funds

Even with a limited budget, a carefully-thought out digital campaign can hit all the right marks, as long as the message is simple, adaptable and urgent.

A countdown approach was used in China to increase urgency for people to respond / Image: The Nature Conservancy


To paraphrase Sir Ernest Rutherford, Nobel prize-winner and father of nuclear physics, when you haven’t got the money, you’ve got to think.

A speaker at a digital conference I attended this year in Hong Kong shared how the fast-changing digital media landscape was making it harder for agencies to help clients effectively spend even million-dollar budgets for campaigns. It was oddly comforting to hear that while money definitely boosts your chances, it doesn't automatically make everything easy or guarantee success.

At The Nature Conservancy (TNC), like at most non-profit organisations with more limited marketing communication budgets, we have to be nimble, creative and opportunistic in our digital strategy and campaigns. Over the years, our results and success across our Asia-Pacific markets has varied. We’re still learning from others as well as from internal colleagues within TNC, so it’s particularly encouraging when our sweat equity and tenacity paid off last October with a truly successful campaign that not only met communications targets, but also made a real positive impact for our conservation work.

The FishFace campaign, sparked and led by TNC’s Australia marketing communications team and rolled out globally across Asia Pacific, the US and Latin America, highlighted key factors to success that will certainly serve as a model for our future digital campaigns in the region. With a lot of effort and coordination and a very limited ad budget of less than US$5,000, we were able to boost awareness that reached more than 13 million people worldwide and take home AU$750,000 for conservation.