Doddie Aid (My Name'5 Doddie Foundation)
Over £2m raised for My Name’5 Doddie Foundation as 40,000 take part in Doddie Aid
Charlotte Holland, Kari Yoshime, Oonagh White, Scott Presly, Agnès Préau, Liam Ryan & GearedApp
App Design, UX, Web Design, Web Development
My Name’5 Doddie Foundation is a charity with one goal: to see a world free of motor neuron disease (MND). Formed to increase funding for research into a condition which still has no effective cure or treatment, it was pioneered by Doddie Weir OBE. Doddie was a much-loved member of Scottish Rugby royalty, who was diagnosed with MND in 2016 and sadly passed away in November 2022.
tda! has been a digital partner to the charity since its formation in 2017, with the charity seeing massive success and growth year-on-year; with almost 80,000 participants raising over £4 million for the foundation to date.
“Doddie Aid” is one of the main annual fundraising events held by the charity, and is the brainchild of former rugby union player and Scotland captain Rob Wainright. Spanning six weeks from 1st January each year, the mass-participation exercise event encourages people to get active and raise funds for MND research.
An early predecessor of the campaign had shown promising levels of interest from supporters. The charity was confident that, with the right approach, Doddie Aid could grow significantly.
tda! were tasked by My Name’5 Doddie to design and deliver a platform for the Doddie Aid campaign, with three main requirements:
- The platform should encourage participation and competition.
- The platform should deliver commercially for My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.
- The platform should be fun, embodying Doddie’s joyful outlook on life.
Research suggested that a mobile app was the best platform for the exercise challenge. Around 87% of UK adults own a smartphone, with an average time of 4 hours and 14 minutes spent using the devices daily. This meant we could reach our audience wherever they might be, making participation simpler. The app could also provide valuable supporter data to the charity for the first time - giving insights to help plan and promote future fundraising efforts.
With the brief in hand, tda! planned, designed and built an app that would bring the Doddie Aid campaign right to participant’s pockets.
Working with the developers at GearedApp, we launched the app for Apple and Android devices. A simple web app version was also created, so that those without a smartphone could still participate.
A collaborative process
We used Figma, a cloud-based design tool, to bring our ideas to life. With comments and changes shown in real time, it was easy to collaborate with the external development team and make sure they understood our design specifications.
User journeys were carefully mapped out using wireframes. This was helpful when testing complex steps, such as the sign-up process. Talking through each screen with the client helped us gather important feedback and make informed decisions, together as a team.
We then fleshed out the look-and-feel, incorporating the distinctive blue and yellow colour scheme of the Doddie tartan. UI elements were kept simple and clean to help users navigate easily. As each design was completed, it was built into the app, so that we could work quickly with design and development in tandem.
Fundraising was the key objective. So, we made a £20 sign-up donation compulsory for all participants. In return, we wanted to give something of value back. Each participant would receive a Doddie Aid tartan snood, as a thank you gift and as a means of spreading the campaign’s visibly into the real world.
Further donations could be processed directly through the app’s “Donate” section. This also encouraged users to create JustGiving fundraising pages, or buy a Doddie Aid entry for a friend. A “Merchandise” area housed more branded apparel, giving supporters a tangible means to demonstrate their involvement whilst raising money and awareness for the charity.
Being part of the team
The event splits participants into six districts, with each led by a sporting or celebrity captain. The overall goal is to be the winning district, by achieving the most miles tracked. Whether it was a cross-country cycle, a Hogmanay sea dive, or the adorable #DoggieAid, we wanted people to get moving, get active, and start adding miles for their district.
Exercise and tracking
A key benefit of using a mobile app was the ability to allow users to log activity on the go. This was achieved either by manually entering a total or by live tracking their movements using their phone’s GPS tracker.
While everyone who joins Doddie Aid participates as part of a district, we wanted to enable competition at a more personal level too. We created the ability for participants to create or join a local league. This would allow people to compete with friends, family, teammates and colleagues. We used leader boards to help users see progress over time and to encourage some friendly rivalry.
It was essential that the design and functionality of the app encouraged community engagement, as this was a key goal for our client. Friendly competition helped generate discussion around the event, spreading the reach of the campaign beyond the app and across social media.
A dedicated “Updates” section pulled a news feed from the main charity website, as well as Twitter and Instagram posts using the #DoddieAid hashtag. The ability to view all conversations around the challenge in a single place helped participants stay connected to the wider community.
Doddie Aid rapidly gained momentum through widespread community engagement across the UK, with high profile segments on BBC Breakfast and Lorraine. Over 17,000 fundraisers rallied to support the cause in 2022, which grew to almost 40,000 fundraisers in 2023.
Among those who supported were Olympians Dame Katherine Grainger and Sir Chris Hoy, actors Ewan McGregor and Ryan Reynolds, musician Lewis Capaldi and television stars Jason Fox and Gabby Logan, as well as a whole host of rugby stars past and present.
With such high-profile support, the campaign became a beacon for collective action in memory of the rugby legend Doddie Weir, striving towards his goal of ending motor neuron disease.
In 2023, almost 40,000 fundraisers helped raise more than £2M for My Name’5 Doddie Foundation. Doddie Aid saw participants running, rowing and bike riding over the course of six weeks to raise money to combat MND. The impressive fundraising total is more than double what was raised in 2022.
tda! is hugely proud to be a digital partner to My Name’5 Doddie Foundation. We will continue the fight to boost research into the condition and to help find a cure.