UNICEF Canada creates a digital Halloween donation box

The organization aims to tap into the affinity parents and kids had for the program in a way that reflects the changing times.

UNICEF Canada-UNICEF Canada reclaims Halloween with initiative t

UNICEF Canada is bringing back the little orange donation box in a digital format to inspire a new generation of youngsters to engage in charitable fundraising. 

The new effort involves bringing back characters from the original UNICEF box – which has not been used since 2006 – as it aims to raise awareness about the United Nations’ child development goals and the organization’s “defend the right to childhood” messaging.

Rowena Pinto, chief program officer for UNICEF Canada, concedes that when the program was halted for logistics and safety reasons, the charity lost a bit of its connection to Canadian kids. There was a deep attachment to the box, which children would bring door-to-door on Halloween night to gather donations, and Pinto says it remains a highly-searched term online. But giving money at the door fell out of vogue, she says, and it became onerous for schools to become involved.

However, Pinto says it’s important to let kids know they have “the power to change the world” and address the issues that were present more than a decade ago, but in a way that reflects changing times and enables parents, teachers and kids to participate again.

The characters live digitally, and have donned capes and masks to become heroes. According to Pinto, each hero is associated with a key factor UNICEF addresses: access to water, nutrition, education and health. Kids can pick their own hero to raise funds, which connects them more closely to the organization and its work.

“Halloween Heroes” is also building on nostalgia, Pinto says, and is aimed at millennial parents who remember the box program as much as it is their kids. The fundraising goal is to raise $100,000 dollars.

It’s tough to break through the noise in peer-to-peer donations, Pinto says, especially with limited marketing dollars. The organization’s spend on this campaign is a bit higher than for previous Halloween campaigns, though is helped along by pro-bono partners.

The campaign was developed in collaboration with agency Juniper Park\TBWA, which handled the website, social assets, email and online video. PHD assisted with the media plan.

To help promote the initiative, participating schools are also being offered a chance to win a performance by Toronto-based pop group GFORCE.