Chester Zoo

Text giving as part of an emergency appeal
Chester Zoo logo
When Chester Zoo found themselves facing the very real threat of permanent closure following the Coronavirus crisis, they launched a national multi-channel campaign in order to ‘Save Our Zoo’.

An Emergency Appeal

Home to over 35,000 threatened and critically endangered animals, Chester Zoo was instantly plunged into the unknown when Coronavirus hit. With 97% of their income coming from visitors and no clue as to when their gates might re-open, the charity moved quickly to launch their ‘Save Our Zoo’ emergency appeal.

The campaign’s rallying call-to-action was launched on the social channels and the website of the UK’s biggest zoo, accompanied by video footage of their resident wild animals and consistent messaging around raising awareness and donating where possible.

Multiple donation methods were offered, including card payments, adoption sponsorships, and text giving. With a £5 default donation amount set, the charity’s ‘OURZOO’ keyword related to the core message of the campaign and provided one of the quickest and easiest ways of supporting the appeal.

The emergency campaign spread far and wide, even catching the mainstream media’s attention – and by putting their text keyword on the very front page of their website, it was an instant way to give for those arriving on the charity’s website.

“Donors are looking for simple ways that they can quickly and safely donate to their favourite causes. Text to donate is still a really popular way to give, so it’s great to be signed up and using it.” – Julie Platt, Chester Zoo

Incredible Support

The Save Our Zoo campaign garnered incredible support, leading to an announcement by the government that zoos across the UK would be able to re-open.

Yet whilst Chester Zoo has implemented many social distancing practices (e.g. online-only booking and hand sanitiser on-site), the charity is still suffering financially after having to reduce their customer capacity to just a fifth of its normal capacity. In making only 25% of their ordinary income, the Save Our Zoo campaign has grown to become an ongoing lifeline, helping to keep the zoo afloat.

The charity has therefore chosen to maximise the impact of text giving. As well as on their website and social channels, the “OURZOO” text details are now being displayed on signage around the zoo itself – promoting the details to a new audience who are visiting the site.

The text details are also being promoted within staff email footers, in a bid to really spread the message as far as possible.

Chester Zoo has now raised almost £22,000 via text, and will aim to continue their fundraising drive in order to support the 35,000 animals in their care.

Keyword: OURZOO
Shortcode: 70085
Default amount: £5

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Adding Text Giving to your digital fundraising or emergency appeal? Read our COVID-19 Info Hub