In 2011, young German men everywhere rejoiced as Germany shut down its mandatory social service program. But unfortunately, this also meant a steep decline in volunteers for Germany’s Federal Agency for Technical Relief (Technisches Hilfswerk or THW). We were asked to help them get recruitment numbers back up.
Although the target group of 20 to 45-year-olds were vaguely aware of the THW, it typically wasn’t clear to them what the THW was about. The 668 local THW chapters throughout Germany provided an ideal opportunity to scale our message and create exciting grassroots-level promotions. If we could help them better explain what they do and give them promotional materials to distribute, we would have a greater opportunity to reach possible recruits at a local level.
We interviewed people who already volunteer at the THW to find out what motivates them to stick around. And what we found was that while it is fulfilling to positively contribute to society, what really floats their lifeboat are the more thrilling aspects. In other words, it’s fun! The work provides a sense of community, and volunteers can also get down and dirty maneuvering big machinery around.
We wanted to highlight the idea that volunteering is like a mini adventure vacation that’s more exciting than your day job, hence the slogan, “Raus aus dem Alltag. Rein ins THW,” or “Out of the Everyday. Into the THW.” We designed 9 motifs showing the THW in action and presented them with a humorous word play to further solidify the message. These were displayed on billboards and advertising pillars nationwide, printed on postcards and were represented on social media. We also supplied local chapters with kits of comprehensive promotional materials with a unified look and feel to be distributed in their communities. Combining local and national efforts, we created a strong synergy with multiple touch points.
The campaign lead to a higher level of attention in the target group and has been continually used by the THW to this day.