The power of Beyond Blue’s Big Blue Table

by Richenda Vermeulen
March 27, 2024

This article was initially published on Fundraising & Philanthropy Magazine.

Launching a successful peer-to-peer event is no easy feat, especially when Australia has the highest saturation of fundraising events in the world. But in year one, Beyond Blue’s newest signature event, Big Blue Table, developed with the help of ntegrity, smashed its fundraising targets.

Over 2100 people hosted an event in their homes, workplaces and commu-nities and they raised $560,000 (an 86% increase on target). No wonder the campaign is a finalist for two Mumbrella Awards this year.

The idea was simple: bring people together to talk about mental health while sharing a meal. A ‘pop up’ even accessible to all, that came alive through a physical host kit delivered to participants. It included everything from conversation starter cards created by leading mental health professionals, fundraising tips, event decorations and even bunting. Awareness of the event was executed across digital, traditional media, corporate partners and ambassadors.

The secret to the success of this campaign: Putting the donor at the heart. The campaign concept, mechanics and channels came from a deep under-standing of Beyond Blue’s community of donors (and potential donors).

After Beyond Blue surveyed over 1000 people, the core community insight that led to the final chosen campaign concept was the desire for ‘connection’ — people wanted to do more than raise money; they wanted to talk about mental health. So, leaning into these core donor insights, Big Blue Table focused on facilitating mental health conversations in an acces-sible context — fundraising was comple-mentary to the experience.

While the teams were elated that we exceeded financial targets, what we didn’t expect was the tremendous social impact a fundraising event could create — 72% of event hosts said they felt more confident talking about mental health and 88% believed they made a positive difference in the community.

Beyond Blue received countless positive testimonials:

“One guest saw their GP for a mental health plan, another guest went and saw a counsellor.”

“After the event, I received several messages thanking me for making it OK to talk about mental health.”

“I’m making an appointment to sit with a professional.”

With 98% of hosts saying they would host a Big Blue Table again, Beyond Blue has now created a long-term revenue stream estimated at $7M over five years. But even more powerfully, it’s created an engagement event that is helping to tackle the deeply entrenched stigma around mental health in Australia.