In January 2020, we were commissioned by Wiltshire Council to create a new identity for their fostering service and to plan, deliver and manage a foster carer recruitment campaign.
The council came to us with a very clear objective. Their problem was that they were facing a shortage of foster carers. Some of their existing foster carers were reaching retirement. And they were having to use costly independent fostering agencies - that often place children in homes outside of the borough - to help meet the demand for foster carers.
The objective of the campaign was to recruit 100 foster carers over a three-year period between May 2020 and April 2023 - to minimise the use of more costly independent fostering agencies and keep cared for children and young people within their local communities, as much as possible.
We followed the government recommended OASIS campaign planning framework: objectives, audience insight, strategy, implementation, and scoring/evaluation.
To clearly understand the objectives, we managed a large and complex group of stakeholders, including representatives from the council's marketing team, the fostering team, council leaders and existing foster carers. We facilitated stakeholder engagement meetings that included defining the objectives and challenges.
We also used these workshops to understand the target audiences. This included audience mapping and understanding and defining value propositions.
With a clear understanding of the campaign objective and audience, we were able to start planning our approach to solving the client's problem. This was a collaborative process, involving members of our client services, creative and operations teams - as well as representatives from the client marketing team and fostering service.
Collectively, we learnt that foster carers are often predisposed to the profession - through direct experience or from being in a caring profession. We also identified that fostering isn't a snap decision. Decisions are based on a mix of emotional and logical factors, so our campaign strategy needed to balance both.
Our approach and audience insight enabled us to create a clear campaign strategy and concept called 'every day matters'.
We used a combination of hand-drawn typography and natural shapes to help make the campaign feel human, authentic and accessible.
We created over 50 different assets including leaflets, posters, exhibition stands, vehicle graphics, a microsite, a content download, infographics, social media content and digital advertising.
In less than two months (May and June 2020), we drove 208 genuine enquiries from potential foster carers, with 91 people downloading the brochure. This resulted in 30 applications. The 30 applications have resulted in 3 approved foster carers so far, with a further 7 in the assessment process and 1 on the waiting list for a social worker. 6 application forms are in progress.
These results were achieved over a 6-week period as a result of the launch campaign through Facebook and Google Ads. However, our campaign also served to raise awareness and provided the client with a suite of assets for future use to continue to drive enquiries and applications beyond the initial launch.
In a time of significant financial pressure, we also saved Wiltshire Council a lot of money. On average, it costs the council more than double to place a child with an independent foster care agency, than it does to place the child with a Wiltshire Council foster carer.
Since the initial launch campaign, the client has recruited a further 17 approved foster carers, with many more still going through the recruitment process.
genuine enquiries from potential foster carers.
people downloaded the brochure.
approved foster carers so far, with many more still going through the recruitment process.
We activated the campaign during lockdown - quickly adjusting our planned approach to respond to the circumstances by focusing on the digital elements of the campaign.
We also shot the photography in our own homes rather than on location and moving planned physical information events to be online.