Our PR Manager Fiona Simpson reveals all about what happens on campaign days like Loud Shirt Day… and how much organisation goes into such events:

A giant ear, wearing a rainbow striped shirt, greeting passengers in the middle of a Tube station is not a sight most people expect to see at 7am on a rainy Friday morning… but that is just how Loud Shirt Day began. And on Loud Shirt Day anything can happen.

Events like Loud Shirt Day are a huge opportunity for small charities like us to raise funds and increase awareness for the life-changing work that goes on all year round.

Auditory Verbal UK's mission is to achieve a world where all deaf children have the same opportunities as their hearing peers, a reality we strive to bring about through access to Auditory Verbal therapy, and the training of professionals in its delivery. Loud Shirt Day highlights our work to large numbers of people in schools and businesses, and to the wider public on social media.

As AVUK’s PR Manager, this annual campaign day was the culmination of months and months of careful thought, planning, and collaboration with every member of the team to ensure it ran smoothly...

The success of a campaign is completely dependent on the build-up and how many schools, businesses and organisations you can get on board. In the months prior to the event we contacted hundreds of organisations, utilised links through families, friends and former colleagues and pounded the streets with posters under our arms (and the giant ear in tow) in an attempt to get as many people across the UK to put on their brightest shirts to raise awareness of our work with deaf children.

Countless families that we help got involved with our media campaign by sending in video clips and agreeing to speak to journalists about AVUK and Loud Shirt Day and our CEO Anita appeared on BBC Radio Oxford.

Many hours were spent emailing celebrity agents asking them to help get some famous faces involved – and thankfully some, including James McVey from the Vamps and Lee and Dean writer Anna Morris, agreed. It’s always exciting when a request is successful!

So much more goes into organising and publicising an event like Loud Shirt Day and here’s how it all worked out on the day itself:

7am: I popped into the office to pick up our beautiful new collection buckets and the all-important ear before heading out to meet CEO Anita at Bermondsey Tube station for our first bucket collection slot of the day (but not before leaving my lovely colleagues some Loud Shirt Day treats for when they arrived).

7.30am: Anita jumped at the chance to wear The Ear and a successful day of collecting began. Families, staff members and volunteers took turns collecting at the station all day. I was amazed by the generosity and enthusiasm of all those who donated and volunteered.
We made friends with all of the incredible Transport for London station staff who put up posters and helped us out.

We were particularly enamoured with Max who thoroughly enjoyed dressing as an ear for the morning – despite a colleague radioing through to tell him he had been spotted on CCTV!!

10am: We made it back to the office in time for a speedy cuppa and a scroll through some of the amazing pictures sent in by people taking part across the UK. Our Communications Manager Becky did a fantastic job of sharing these on social media throughout the day.

11am: Ear firmly on my head, Anita, Head of Fundraising Emma and Communications Assistant Alex and I paid a visit to Salesforce tower in the City. After spending a good five minutes gawping at the huge tropical fish tank, we were whizzed up to floor 29 in the world’s fastest lift* (*may not be factually accurate).

We spent a great hour meeting staff who were wearing their loud shirts, taking pictures and collecting donations – it was great to see how enthusiastic and generous everyone was. And we’re still in awe of the office!

12noon: The “dream team” braved torrential rain (sorry Alex for forgetting your coat!) to rush to the Banking Standards Board to judge their loud shirt competition. 

We were chosen as their charity of the year so it was an honour to be asked to visit on the day.

It was really hard to pick a winner because everyone put in so much effort but we couldn’t say no to this fabulous shirt featuring a COWBOY CAT RIDING A SHARK. Well done to the winner who also made a great chocolate and raspberry cake!

2pm: We arrived back at the office, soaking wet to a hero’s welcome (only joking!) before running down to the Tube station for a photoshoot with MP for Old Bermondsey and Southwark Neil Coyle.

The rest of the afternoon was spent looking through dozens of pictures sent in from people taking part across the country and sharing these on social media. It gave everyone a real buzz to see how enthusiastic and supportive everyone was of the work we do!

6pm: Time for a well-earned drink and catch up with one tired but happy AVUK team…