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A campaign to recruit foster carers across Greater Manchester.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Greater Manchester needs more foster carers.

It’s that simple. But so many potential foster carers are spooked by the often daunting process of becoming one.

We worked with Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) - which brings together the ten local authorities across the city region - to develop a foster carer recruitment campaign with a difference.

The approach needed to be bold and authentic to cut through the noise of other national and regional campaigns, resonate with all ten local authorities, and generate new foster carer enquiries for Greater Manchester.

A campaign to recruit foster carers across Greater Manchester.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Project summary

  • Research and insights
  • Concept development
  • Campaign strategy
  • Messaging development
  • Audience testing
  • Channel planning
  • Copywriting
  • Graphic design
  • Website design and build
  • Paid social
  • Campaign stewardship
  • Reporting and optimisation


We began by examining all existing recruitment and marketing practices, exploring the wider market, and engaging with existing and potential foster carers across Greater Manchester.

From our research, we identified that prospective foster carers are often hesitant to commit to fostering because they don’t feel they have all the facts (warts and all) they need to make an informed decision about something so life changing. They also felt pressured to make an instant decision, and there was no one out there helping them explore fostering fully before making a decision.

Most existing foster carers found speaking to another carer, or someone with care experience, helped prepare them for life as a foster carer. This is because it gave them the real-life perspective they needed to pursue their calling as a foster parent.

We wanted to give our audience an unfiltered view of fostering from the people who really know what it’s like – the foster carers. With this in mind, we devised 'Fostering Unfiltered' - a refreshingly honest look at the world of foster care through the lens of foster carers' lived experiences.

Our campaign took a longer-term view of foster carer recruitment and focused on building an audience of potential future foster carers. We did this by creating a digital campaign which directed people to the campaign microsite we designed and built. This website was designed to give potential foster carers the tools to self-educate and self-qualify - without feeling pressured to apply immediately. It also shared real-life stories from foster carers around Greater Manchester, about their real experience with birth children, applications, finances, support and more.

This microsite also housed a piece of gated content called ‘what’s it really like to foster a child’, which potential foster carers could access in exchange for sharing their data. This data was then put into a customer relationship management (CRM) system, which gave the local authorities the tools to nurture and connect with potential foster carers -depending on what stage of the fostering journey they were at.

A mock up of the campaign landing page.


The campaign went live in May 2023. In just two months, the Fostering Unfiltered website has generated over 60 fostering leads. Our social campaigns have reached 800k people and have been seen over 1.6m times

As a result of our campaign, many more people across Greater Manchester have been inspired to take the first step in their fostering journey.

"We've been working with Eleven on the development of a Greater Manchester-wide foster carer recruitment marketing strategy and campaign. This is a complex project that involves 10 local authorities - all with their own priorities and ways of working - that have chosen to come together to tackle what is a big issue for all councils - not just at a GM-level, but nationally. We chose Eleven because it was clear from the outset that they have specialist knowledge and experience of the local authority fostering sector - and this really helped with engaging and managing what was a large and diverse group of stakeholders (including Directors of Children's services, fostering service staff, comms colleagues and foster carers) to try and solve a complex issue. We're still at the very early stages of the campaign, but we're hopeful that a more bespoke campaign, "Fostering Unfiltered", driven by wider insight and innovation will support us in delivering many more foster carers across the whole of Greater Manchester."

Director of Children's Services

Bolton Council

A mock up of the landing page on mobile.
A mock up of the landing page on mobile.
A mock up of the campaign billboard.
Behind the scenes at the campaign photoshoot.
More behind the scenes at the campaign photoshoot.
The fostering unfiltered campaign poster.
A mock up of the campaign toolkit.
The campaign's messaging framework.
A mock up of the campaign toolkit.