OOhyes was founded on the belief that every business has a role to play in facilitating positive change. Yes, profit is important, but who says growth cannot be achieved in a socially conscious, compassionate way? 

Upon the backdrop of a global pandemic, these values have taken centre stage. Operating both reactively and proactively, the OOhyes team has balanced its day-to-day responsibilities as a specialist OOH partner to blue chip clients with concerted support for several charities in need of help. 

Lending our expertise, experience and extensive network of contacts to such causes has been an eye-opening, challenging and hugely inspiring experience for us – but it’s one that also exposes the current struggles within the Third Sector.   

Charities are wrestling with an uncomfortable paradox: as donation rates continue to slump in the afterglow of a financially bruising pandemic, demand for services is ever growing. This is clearly unsustainable.

Things are likely to get worse, too, with the UK Government’s plan to cut Universal Credit potentially plunging an additional 500,000 people into poverty – including 200,000 children. Who do you think will be there to provide vital support?

Clearly, charities need help, and we’ve had the privilege of supporting several in their fundraising and awareness efforts over the last twelve months – either through our SafeWorld 19 fundraising initiative, or as a specialist outdoor partner. We’ve seen how hard they work to support those who need it most – indeed, witnessing this commitment in action has been truly touching.

Take CLIC Sargent, for example. Struggling to accrue enough donations amid the dog days of the pandemic, the charity went above and beyond to ensure it was able to continue supporting children, young adults and families affected by cancer. This resulted in the launch of a mass awareness campaign to coincide with World Cancer Day 2021, using out-of-home sites donated by OOhyes. 

Then there’s Local Village Network (LVN), which supports disadvantaged young people with guidance and opportunities. To counter a drop in donations, the charity decided to innovate and develop an app that would enable youths to access a host of educational tools and placement opportunities. OOhyes was again on hand to plan and launch a targeted digital out-of-home campaign that aimed to drive downloads of the app.

And lastly, we have Cash 4 Kids, the network of charities coordinated by Bauer Media. We supported the launch of a multichannel campaign that raised over £19 million for disadvantaged children living in 22 local areas. This shows that the challenge of reversing declining donation rates can be overcome with the right support. 

Throughout September we will also be working with Young Lives vs Cancer to mark Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Having experienced similar issues over the past year to many other charities, Young Lives Versus Cancer hopes a series of targeted out-of-home sites will fuel the upsurge in donations needed to ensure help is there for children and their families struggling to cope.

These examples illustrate the breadth of the problem facing the Third Sector. Charities across the board have had to invest more time and money into raising donations – resources that are instrumental to the quality of support provided. 

There will always be generous partners willing to help – be it by donating time, ad space or discounted rates – but as an industry we need to ensure this mindset is engrained. As we lay the foundations to build back better, we must remember that compassion is the mortar that will bed everything together.

By George Rossides