RAF Charity’s Storytelling Campaign Gets Off To A Flying Start

By Lucy Tugby 12/07/2018

It’s a century since the RAF first took to the skies and celebrations are going on across the country.

The RAF Benevolent Fund (the Fund) was set up the following year to support those who served. Since then, it has offered assistance with issues such as injury, housing and employment.

This year, the charity has launched a major campaign with the help of Addition by WPNC, not just to mark centenary celebrations, but also to tell stories that might otherwise be lost. Whatever people’s experiences in the RAF, the Fund is interested in hearing about them.

The Fund briefed the agency to develop and run ‘Storylines’, a website dedicated to recounting those experiences with content from servicepeople and their families.

Vicky Reeves, WPNC’s MD of digital, explains: “This year’s key anniversaries were an opportunity to launch an engaging campaign.

“Users have uploaded more than 100 stories already since the initiative was launched three months ago.”

The campaign kicked off on Facebook with an invitation for people to upload stories, including images and videos, directly onto the website.

One detailed story tells of several generations of a family serving across 100 years. Another comes directly from an RAF instrument maker. A further post revisits the horror of the Afghanistan conflict in more recent times. It’s powerful stuff.

“Contributors can select a specific era on the timeline, which covers four generations in total,” adds Vicky. “Stories can then be shared on social media and this has helped the campaign build momentum. There’s also a comment function on the site which allows readers to share their own memories.”

The content campaign is seen as the first phase of a longer initiative that will see the Fund approaching contributors with fundraising communications, describing more about the charity and its work with the aim of encouraging support in the future.

“The charity wants to reach the ‘next generation’, extending beyond its existing, loyal database to the children and grandchildren of ex-servicepeople - as well as those who are serving now,” says Vicky.

Both the Fund and the agency have been pleased with how the campaign has taken off. In time, as content builds, stories could be promoted by category and tagged so it’s simpler to search; for example, memories specifically relating to women who have served in the RAF, or the Battle of Britain.

Vicky concludes: “It’s satisfying when you see people uploading engaging, real stories. It brings to life the people who the charity has supported and makes you realise how much we owe to them.”

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