Charity OOH Advertising

OOH Charity advertising bus panel for Action Against Hunger

In many ways out-of-home (OOH) is the ideal medium for charity advertising.

It ensures your message reaches a broad swathe of the population. It is incredibly flexible; from digital posts in malls, to roadside billboards, and innovative guerrilla campaigns that use shock and unusual juxtapositions to foster engagement.

Here are some of the factors that can help improve your charity OOH campaign.


What’s the best location for your campaign? London has the highest level of donors in the UK. This can make it a great place to run high profile campaigns across multiple sites. The downside is that it’s a crowed environment with lots of charities competing for space.

Not all charities are the same. London might be a great place for, say, a cancer charity to advertise. But an organisation like the RSPB may seek to target smaller towns or more rural areas. It’s about what works best for your type of organisation.


Have an understanding of what your ideal donor looks like. For example, people aged between 45 and 64 are the most likely to be engaged in charitable activities and older women with higher incomes are the most likely to give money.

Perhaps you want to create a campaign targeting these demographic segments. Alternatively, perhaps you’re seeking to break into younger audiences, like students. Whichever age group and demographic you are targeting it will effect that way you advertise and the kind of messages you create.

OOH medium

OOH advertising comes in all different shapes and sizes. The WaterAid “To Be a Girl” campaign saw ads displayed on 3,000 busses across the UK, reaching over 30 million people. The result: a 59% increase in gifts from cold donors, a boost in online donations (the majority of which came from from new supporters) and am overall increase in general awareness, in particular amongst the 35+ and 55+ groups.

This reflects the fact that busses target a broad section of the population, particularly, we might speculate, slightly older commuters who are more likely to take the bus.

By way of contrast, the Women’s Aid “look at me” campaign used digital billboards with audience recognition technology to display a creative that saw a woman’s bruised face begin to heal the more people looked at the screen.

Clarity of purpose

At its heart, an impactful campaign needs to:

  • Create an emotional response in audiences. Emotions have a big impact on our behaviours. Your message needs to matter to your audiences.
  • Motivate a clear call to action (CTA). Most commonly your CTA will be requesting people donate to your charity. But other CTAs include motivating participation in a charity event, like Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life campaign which used audience-generated content to populate a digital campaign.
  • Be creative. Some of the most effective outdoor advertising campaigns for charities visualise the impact that their supporters have, like this NHS blood donor campaign which used Augmented Reality (AR) via which audiences could simulate a blood transfusion to a virtual patient on digital screen.

It should be clear that there are a wide range of exciting options when it comes to running a charity campaign in the OOH environment. Charities are often at the forefront of innovations in OOH. We hope this post gives you some ideas that you can apply to your campaigns.


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