Audience Participation: National Trust - 50 Things to do Before You're 11 3/4

Research by the National Trust (NT) demonstrated that there has been a long-term and dramatic decline in children's relationship with the outdoors. Fewer than one in 10 children regularly plays in wild places compared with half a generation ago, and children today are more likely to injure themselves falling from bed than from a tree.

It devised an initiative to encourage increasingly sedentary children to take to the great outdoors and develop a relationship with nature.

"50 things to do before you’re 11 3⁄4" mirrored the recent vogue for "bucket lists", providing a checklist of outdoor activities that children can try, such as playing conkers, bug-hunting, camping and flying a kite.
The original list in 2012 was put together by staff and volunteers. For the updated 2013 version, NT crowdsourced children’s own ideas. It also launched a search for 10 children and their families to form the first National Trust Kids Council. The families were an integral part of developing the ideas and how they could feed into the Trust’s visitor experience.

Since its launch in May, the initiative has grown to overtake the achievements of the first year. The
campaign caught the imagination of the media, providing 327m opportunities for it to be seen across broadcast and print. Social media contributed a further 83m opportunities. Awareness was up to 17%, compared with 12% in 2012; more than 50,000 children registered on a "50 things" microsite, and more than 100,000 scrapbooks were given away.

The judges were impressed by the way in which the National Trust was, in effect, future-proofing its
audience by appealing so directly to children and families. By putting children at the heart of the
campaign, it has subtly changed how people perceive it. Rather than being a custodian of stately
enjoy the outdoors – a feeling echoed by 63% of visitors. It also improved enjoyment of visits, with 84% of families who interacted with "50 things" saying their visit was "very enjoyable".

"The PR results speak for themselves and the engagement statistics are staggering. But what’s most encouraging to see, and the mark of a great campaign, is the obvious lifting of perception, and increasing family footfall at NT sites. A great idea should always be repeatable, and ‘50 things’ is no exception, with the core idea able to live on through 2012, 2013 and, no doubt, beyond." Mat Sears, director of PR & corporate communications, EE

"The National Trust has a huge resonance with its traditional audience, but ‘50 things’ demonstrates an organisation trying to reach beyond the obvious target audience to a new generation, and doing it very well." Nick Diamond, head of marketing, global Tesco

See the rest of the 2013 Future 5 winners.

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