The ‘cause’ behind the award-winning campaign!

Posted by : | Posted on : June 30, 2016

Marketing and communicating a social initiative effectively for the greater good of benefitting the society means so much more. It gets better when you stand out in the crowd for doing good. The latest recognition to come CAF India’s way is the ‘The Best Cause Marketing Campaign of the Year in NGO Sector’ for the Himalayan Earthquake Response campaign.

I am glad to be a part of a hard-working and committed team at CAF India who put their thinking caps on to develop an effective integrated marketing and communication strategy that struck an emotional chord with the caring citizens across the country.

Any natural disasters of this magnitude are depressing. Our hearts bled when news poured in of the disastrous earthquake that struck Nepal and northern parts of India on that fateful day on 25 April 2015. More than 8000 people were killed and many were left homeless. It was no time for the core team that works for disasters at CAF India to reflect and think. It was time to act. We needed to take urgent action to muster support for the affected people of Nepal and India. The Advisory team helped develop a concept note to define our approach for tackling this disaster, the Programs Team wasted no time getting in touch with our NGO partners and volunteers on the ground to get a situational report and the Marketing and communication team put it all together to raise funds from individual and corporate donors.

The Marketing and Communication team, of which I am a part of, and played a key role, developed an integrated and engaging campaign that eventually went on to bag the Best Cause Marketing Campaign of the Year in NGO Sector. The Himalayan Earthquake Disaster Response campaign was an innovative campaign because we used a 360-degree approach to raise funds from potential donors – with bulk of the funds being mobilised through the digital medium.

Spearheaded by the Marketing and Communication Head Sangeeta Thakral and Senior Management of CAF India, the entire campaign was built around a robust digital marketing and media strategy.

Award 1It was challenging to work on this campaign as it was a departure from the past. For the first time, we were faced with a situation to address the disaster-affected areas outside India too. For this, we changed the strategy and communication to help raise funds for the affected.


The integrated approach of the campaign

A lot of strings had to be pulled to make this campaign an award-winning one. We got a donation link activated in no time to help donors support the victims. This was backed up by a comprehensive digital and offline media strategy, through active engagement with the audience. Realising the preferences of the growing social media-savvy population, we sent out mass appeal emailers to corporate and individual donors.


The Himalayan Earthquake Disaster Response campaign stood out in India amongst a number of NGOs who were trying to reach out to people through multiple appeals across the globe.

CAF India’s experience of tackling immediate and long-term needs in disasters in Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand had taught us valuable lessons. In this campaign, our organisation used and intergrated the below to reach out to the maximum number of people:


  • Our programmatic expertise
  • Strategic giving
  • Our network with implementing agencies/NGOs
  • Celebrity support
  • Radio campaign
  • Dynamic digital maketing strategy
  • Media strategy
  • Offline marketing strategy

Celebrity support

It was a strategic call by me to rope in Sunil Chhetri. The Captain of the Indian football team showed why he is admired off the pitch as he readily lent support and endorsed the campaign with all his heart. The appeal from a popular sportsperson like Sunil Chhteri received huge media coverage which helped in generating awareness and funds for the cause appeal.

Our robust Online Media Strategy included:

  • Investing in Facebook Ads
  • Raising funds through Online Donation link
  • Creating a separate hashtag exclusively for the campaign #cafindia4nepal
  • Sending out mass emailers to our database appealing
  • Ensuring greater outreach through Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube
  • Approached and featured in third-party fundraising platforms like
  • Highlighted Survivor Tales from Nepal on our website to garner support

Our comprehensive Offline Media Strategy included :

  • Garnering support from Nepal Embassy for the campaign
  • Radio advertisements to highlight the campaign
  • Strategic decision to rope in celebrity Sunil Chhetri for lending support to the campaign
  • Reaching out to the media for ensuring maximum visibility
  • Featured and promoted Sunil Chhetri on our Youtube channel
  • Prepared attractive creatives to promote and help in our fundraising efforts

Indians are known to be generous when natural calamities like these, strike. We managed to mobilise nearly Rs 25 lakhs for the people of Nepal and Northern parts of India, which bore the brunt of the earthquake, from individual donors alone.

One year down the line, it feels all the more special when you see the lives of the disaster-affected victims being rebuilt because of our efforts on the ground. It feels great because the cause for which we have put in the hard work, won.

The latest recognition from CMO Asia, which is a prestigious forum for business leaders across the country to come together to recognise some of the best marketing initiatives in the country, is a tribute to all the generous donors who have supported us in reaching out to the affected people in the hour of crisis. We have just two words for you – THANK YOU!

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