Action for Children

Byte Night is Action for Childrens flagship sleep-out event for the corporate sector, taking place annually as a series of simultaneous sleep-out events at multiple locations across the UK. Since 1998, its raised over £12.5 million to help Action for Children protect and support children across the UK. Given the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Action for Children developed a new virtual sleep-out event, Boycott your Bed.

Category:    Best Pivot Event

Sponsor:    DRPG

Winner:    Action for Children

Event:    Boycott Your Bed

Location:    UK & Beyond (Online)

The Objectives
Since its conception in 1998, Byte Night has been delivered as a physical sleep-out event, with around 1000 sleepers taking part across 10 locations throughout the UK and known to be the UK’s largest corporate sleep out. 

Participants would raise sponsorship to sleep rough for the night and then on the night, they’d attend the event where they’d network with other sleepers, hear stories from the charity and participate in fundraising activities before sleeping out.

The objectives were to create a digital event to raise funds, that would appeal to previous Byte Night participants and retain relationships, whilst also attracting a new audience to grow their supporter base and test an event in the mass market space.

When the team pivoted to Boycott your Bed, it was imperative they retained elements of interactivity to ensure they maintained the engagement of previous Byte Night participants. 

The Challenges
The format of the Byte Night events relied on in-person interaction, team building and networking and is what made participators return year on year. 

The team were working to an extremely tight deadline in a time where staff members were on furlough and expenditure had to stay low. The decision was made in April, and the full event concept was finalised by May to be launched in June. The event itself took place on 21st August 2020.

With 40% of the charity’s fundraising income at risk, it was essential to still generate income. 

The Delegate Experience
During a period when there was a lot of noise in the market, the team needed to use a multi-faceted approach to gather interest and registrations, and then to keep registrants engaged throughout the pre-event period. 

At the point of registration, the team gathered information from participants which gave insight into what content they might engage with. From this, they placed them onto an ongoing email journey tailored for them which included exciting updates and fundraising ideas. 

Four hours of livestream entertainment was delivered on the night, with a Family Fun section including a scavenger hunt and bedtime stories, followed by fun for the grown-ups including a performance from Pixie Lott and a trivia quiz by Ed Byrne which was a mix of live and pre-recorded content. 

Throughout the night, the audience was encouraged to get involved with games and interact by sharing content on social media with the #BoycottyourBed. 

To ensure participants felt engaged they used various methods of interactivity such as hosts live in the studio, who were able to announce competition winners in real time, as well as reading shout-outs that came through via the live chat function. This also allowed participants to interact with each other.

The Results
The event raised over £350,000, which was a massive achievement against a target of £50,000.

Over 5,000 people took part in Boycott your Bed, which was far more participants than the event had ever seen. Historically, Byte Night is a corporate-focused event, whereas Boycott your Bed appealed to families as well as organisations. 50% of those that signed up were families, which highlights the difference between the audiences. 

They received 85 pieces of media coverage including Lorraine, Good Morning Britain and Channel 5 News, and had more engagement on the night, that resulted in #BoycottyourBed trending on Twitter in the UK.

Participant satisfaction results were incredibly positive. Over 90% said they would take part in the event again and would recommend Boycott your Bed to others. 

The average engagement rates of emails sent to participants exceeded their average engagement rates and charity sector averages. 

They gained an email opt-in rate of around 75% and SMS opt in rate of approximately 30% which allowed them to continue communicating with people. From a feedback survey sent post event, participants were overwhelmingly positive about the registration process and the communications. This communications plan resulted in two Dotties Awards: Most Advanced Automation, and Most Inspiring Not-For-Profit Campaign.

Judges Comments
Boycott your Bed’ is a worthy winner. We can all relate that 2020 was a hard year. 

This activity has previously been done live, but pivoted to online and attracted a lot of following and attention thanks to the momentum, the team were able to build in the run up to the event. All the judges felt it was a reflection of the restrictions imposed on all; to stay home and be with our household. It encompassed family involvement and gained backing from esteemed public figures. 

With gaining exceptional results in smashing their fundraising targets, supported in a purpose of doing good. Well done!!