Boosting Support for Refugee Council’s Handraiser Campaign

Over the years, we’ve collaborated with the Refugee Council on various campaigns, such as their emergency and Christmas appeals. More recently, we collaborated on a targeted Facebook ad campaign that successfully generated 23,673 leads, with 18,310 new leads coming directly from these ads.

The Refugee Council

3 mins read

Couple stand arm in arm

The outcome

The client

Garnering support for a fair asylum system

The Refugee Council is dedicated to supporting and empowering people who have fled conflict, violence and persecution to rebuild their lives in the UK. Committed to upholding the rights of refugees, they also advocate for a fair and humane asylum system.

The paid Facebook campaign was part of the Refugee Council’s wider plan of pressing the Government to create an asylum system that treats everybody with fairness and humanity, regardless of how they have arrived in the UK. The ads asked people to add their names to join the campaign in support of refugees and call for a fair and humane asylum system. By joining the campaign, sign-ups could hear how they can take further action to support their campaigning and vital work.

The brief

Securing as many signatures as possible

The campaign was quickly initiated in light of unfolding events in the media, with a primary goal to secure as many signatures as possible at a cost per acquisition (CPA) of less than £1.50.

Recognising that events and news stories can often leave people feeling overwhelmed and helpless, this campaign provided a tangible way for people to get involved. By using the strategy of a handraiser, we asked visitors to add their names without an explicit target like a petition.

All of this contributes to building a strong community that supports the Refugee Council's work, making their future campaigns even more effective.

Our approach

Building on insights and testing creative routes

Facebook was the sole channel for this campaign due to its ability to reach the target audience. Throughout the five-month campaign, we tested various messaging and creative routes to ensure its success.

Building on insights from the previous year, we focused on the best-performing audiences as well as lookalike audiences. We also introduced new test audiences who had interests in the news and were actively engaged in topics related to the campaign.

The team at the Refugee Council used learnings from previous campaigns as well as their organic channels to build visuals that would resonate with supporters. Two distinct ad creatives captured the audience's attention: one highlights that refugees are more than numbers, and the other calls for the best solution that is fair and humane. And, whilst we usually advise against having too much text in ad creatives, you’ll see below how powerful these creatives were, with information on the various roles a refugee can have—from being a doctor or chef to an aunty or mother. Combined with these creatives, we used ad copy that highlighted how the UK’s asylum system was getting tougher, and as a result, men, women and children’s safety was at risk.

Two ad creatives. Left ad shows a darkened image of the sea, with the copy: "All refugees should be treated as people, not numbers" Underneath this text reads various words to show the different roles of a refugee, such as 'mother', 'doctor', 'brother', 'student' etc. Right hand ad shows a small boat in the distance at sea, with the text "The fairest and most humane solution is the best solution."

We gained learnings that ad text using the alarm emoji was effective, likely adding urgency and standing out in the social feed. We also learned that complex legislative language generated a lower CTR, which we quickly paused.

The results

Building long-term support

We’re pleased to report a hugely successful campaign for the Refugee Council—and one that we’re proud to be a part of for yet another year.

  • 23,673 leads in total, with 18,310 new leads coming directly from the Facebook ad campaign
  • £1.40 CPA, 10p less than our target and 41% less than last year

And, whilst it wasn't a direct aim, the campaign also led to £7,887 in income, further demonstrating the high level of engagement from the audience to the cause.

It has been great working with Torchbox on this project. With their in-house expertise Torchbox provided support in testing different messaging that could resonate with our prospective audiences. This helped us reach and inspire new audiences to take action to support refugees and people seeking asylum in the UK.

The Direct Marketing team at the Refugee Council

Let's chat

Get in touch to discuss how we can transform your nonprofit marketing campaigns.

Get in touch


Shalom Fynn-Garbrah

Digital Marketing Executive