for what it’s worth

stories and stimulus from a consumer insight consultant

Crisis takes homelessness to the streets


This is a fantastic piece of advertising – simple, hard hitting, and perfectly positioned. Just goes to show that you don’t need to spend loads on building apps and viral games to get your message across. The cheaper the campaign, the more money the charity has to actually do good.

Crisis is taking advantage of the freezing conditions with a short ad campaign to drive home the message that  rough sleeping is not acceptable in the UK in the 21st century.

Donations from the campaign will help Crisis to deliver its year round services, helping people off the streets with education, links to vital services, housing and employment

Having helped out at the Crisis Christmas shelter this is a charity close to my heart, and one that I hope people will support both financially and vocally – find out more at and add your name to the petition to put rough sleeping to bed for good

Filed under: clever promotion, good,



With the recent reports on McDonald’s being allowed to run it’s own A-level qualifications and Government offering cash incentives for losing weight, it seems that the British Government have got a bit confused in how best to educate the next generation. How refreshing then to see some people taking it upon themselves to teach children about the importance of giving rather than just receiving. The Observer reports on the Dragon School in Oxford’s new plan for ‘generosity’ classes, teaching philanthropy to the next generation of business brains. Having employed Daniel Gill as the exclusive private school’s director of social impact, Gill decided to introduce lessons on philanthropy as an alternative way to give back to the community.

‘I think it is crucial,’ he said about the initiative. ‘We are sowing the seeds for a new generation. We do want the pupils here to understand that by any stretch of the imagination they are privileged. We hope a lot of them will be successful in the future and in a position to give.’

Classes include giving children a pound, asking them to ‘grow it’ and then encouraging them to discuss which charity to donate to. They are also asked to consider whether their school fees have been well invested and to think about what else the money could be used for.

Beyond private school privilege, the article also comments on the Institute for Philanthropy, a non-profit organisation that aims to teach all people understand the impact of giving:

‘Philanthropy is not just about money; it is about time,’ said Musa Okwonga, a spokesman. Lending a charity a manager for two days a week could be equally valuable. The consultancy recently started working in a handful of state schools in London with 14 and 16-year-olds. ‘Giving is not an impulse, it is a skill,’ he said.

The organisation is running a Youth and Philanthropy Initiative – a unique programme designed to teach secondary school pupils the basic skills of effective giving and to highlight the positive impact they, as young people, can have on their communities.

Institute for Philanthropy

The Observer: Generosity Classes at Top School

Filed under: education, for the children, good,


M&SLeading UK retailer Marks & Spencer has teamed up with Oxfam to incentivize charitable donations. The ‘M&S and Oxfam Clothes Exchange’ aims to get everyone recycling their old clothes by offering a £5 M&S voucher in return for donating a bag of unwanted clothes to one of the charity’s stores that includes at least one item of M&S clothing (they will accept anything except underwear). A six month trial will run from January 28 in 790 branches of Oxfam across the UK and Republic of Ireland, with vouchers received valid for a month, in the hope that free money will encourage more recycling and reusing.

According to the press release:

The Exchange is designed to both raise money for Oxfam’s work to tackle poverty and injustice and to reduce the one million tonnes of clothing sent by the public to landfill in the UK each year. The announcement marks the first anniversary of Plan A, M&S’ ‘eco-plan’.

Stuart Rose, Chief Executive of M&S described it as ‘a triple win – it’s good for customers, good for people in developing countries and good for the environment’, although M&S may find it’s not so good for their profits. Which makes it a campaign to be applauded: with pretty much every wardrobe in the UK containing at least one piece of M&S clothing, and no restrictions on the age or state of the donation nor the amount of times a person donates, Oxfam may find itself giving out quite a lot of vouchers!


Marks & Spencer Plan A

Filed under: clever promotion, good,

CrowdFunder: The Power of the Crowd in the Community


CrowdFunder is a great new site that helps individuals raising money within their communities by uniting people with common interests. The concept is pretty self-explanatory and follows the power of the crowdsourcing model: a little money x a lot of people = the power of crowdfunding. Essentially it works the same way as charity sponsorship sites like Just Giving, with one crucial difference: if the total isn’t achieved in the time specified everyone gets their money back.

Rather than being charity-driven the site revolves around community-based projects, aiming to help users raise funds by ‘leveraging your offline and online reputations in the community where you live’ and making it easy to collect from a group of your friends for non-charitable donations ie to communally pay for a party / buy a present / sponsor the creation of your entrepreneurial brainwaves.

Currently in beta in Boulder, Colorado, though hopefully soon to be rolled out further, the site has an array of school teams, community projects and personal requests a well as larger charity listings asking for anything from $50 – $5000.


Filed under: collaborative working, good,

Rough Sleepers- Designer Charity

Rough Sleepers is a clever new twist on the traditional idea of a charity shop. Working with the same business model, all the proceeds go directly to the social exclusion and homelessness charity Novas, but this is no second-hand store. The rather inconspicuous facade on the main road through Camden Town hides an impressively designed space with a feast of fashion treats inside, and wonderfully friendly assistants who were very happy to guide me around the store and introduce me to the fabulous collections.

The store itself is sensitively designed by Sonoko Obuchi to emulate a shopping trolley, an object that is both the primary choice for many homeless people to transport their possessions, and a striking symbol of our consumer-led culture. A mixture of white walls, metal frame and mirrors, the space puts you inside the shopping trolley and makes you reflect on these themes.


The clothing and accessories on offer come from a range of designers from all over the world, an important point for the charity who are keen to stress this global synergy for their cause. Some designers including Robert Carey Williams, Zest by Ikuko Kato, Not Morris (Kim Jones’ team), and Ramon Barreto have created ranges exclusively for Rough Sleepers, whilst the store also sells a well-chosen range of young designers including Dexter Wong, NOM*d, Sylvia Rielle and Vinti Andrews. Currently also stocking recent LCF graduate Georgie Ichikawa, they are keen to involve graduates too, and to offer help to designers through their studio facilities located at the back of the store.

Yet another clever facet of the store is Rough Sleepers fully functioning studio/ workshop which will soon be home to the store’s four resident designers (including Georgie) who each have bartered deals enabling them to use the space for free.


Having only opened a couple of weeks ago, the store is sure to become a fashion destination for those in NW London, not only due to its unique pieces at great prices (ranging from £30 to £500), but also thanks to the guilt-free shopping it offers. Unlike the marketing ploy of Bono’s project (RED), this scheme has roots within its own community and Novas are making sure that 100% of profits are reinvested in helping the homeless in Camden and across the country. What could be more virtuous than shopping here?!

Filed under: collaborative working, creative ideas, good, products with a purpose,


The front page of the Independent yesterday showed a black-painted Kate Moss, as the paper was once again taken over by Bono’s RED campaign with the special edition guest-designed by Giorgio Armani.Katemoss2
Alongside main news the paper was filled with articles on issues such as aids in Africa, global warming and profiles on do-good celebrities such as George Clooney and Bill Gates, with half of the the sales revenue going to aids charities.

It seems however that not everyone was impressed by the takeover. Hannah Pool over at rival paper the Guardian has written a cutting article on the ‘blackening up’ of Miss Moss and its relevance, but surely she has missed the point- the Kate phenomenon has reached such proportions that just using her picture will increase the sales, and as raising money is what it’s all about that can’t be a bad thing. Except for the papers who lose out!

Independent Red issue

Filed under: clever promotion, products with a purpose, ,