Best charity social media campaigns

I feel that 2014 was the year that social media really took off for charities. Hardly a week went by without people jumping on the latest bandwagon campaign. Wherever I looked friends and family seemed to be all joining in various stunts and activities. Not all of them I agreed with (#nomakeupselfie anyone?) but they certainly captured the general public’s imagination.

So how many of these did you get involved with or were aware of? With thanks to Civil Society for the pinched summary of each campaign:

  1. #nomakeupselfie
    In the spring cancer charities received an unexpected bonus as people rushed to take snapshot of themselves without make up, donate to charity and nominate three of their friends to do the same.   Cancer Research UK was the biggest winner, raising a staggering £8m in the first week, but cancer charities across the board benefited as the craze swept the nation.
  2. Icebucket challenge
    Over the summer challenging friends to take a selfie to raise awareness was replaced with asking them to have someone else pour a bucket of ice over their head.  The challenge saw people pour a bucket of iced water over their head and make a £5 donation to charity. Anyone who completed the challenge can nominate three more people to take part.  The origin may have been in New Zealand, raising money for cancer charities, but it took off in the US where various celebrities took part for ALS Association, which supports those with motor neurone disease.   In the UK the Motor Neurone Disease Association raised £7.1m.  Macmillan Cancer Support raised almost £5m, but the charity was forced against criticism that it had hijacked MNDA’s campaign.
  3. Find Mike
    Right at the start of the year Jonny Benjamin set out to find the stranger who prevented his suicide with a social media campaign and support from Rethink Mental Illness. The campaign captured the imagination of the public and in the first day the charity’s website received more than 10,000 visitors and the story got over 2,500 social media shares.  ‘Mike’ turned out to be called Neil Laybourn, whose fiancé saw the campaign on Facebook and recognised the story. He then contacted Rethink.   Benjamin documented the process of finding Mike, which was released in the spring and Rethink has been using the the film to raise awareness of mental illness and collect donations via text.
  4. Stephen’s Story
    You couldn’t help but be moved by Stephen Sutton whose JustGiving page reached £5m raised for the Teenage Cancer Trust in the months following his death in May this year from bowel cancer.  His fundraising campaign and blog attracted the attention and support of the national media, celebrities and politicians.
  5. Charities hijack the #Tubestrike hashtag
    When London Underground workers went on strike in the spring  Save the Children, Macmillan Cancer Support and Leonard Cheshire Disability hijacked the Twitter hashtag to put commuters’ frustrations into perspective. Frustrated communters looking at the #tubestrike feed on Twitter also saw mocked up line status boards from the three charities reminding them that there are worse things than having to catch a crowded London bus. Save the Children’s image listed basic essentials such as food and medicine with statuses like ‘suspended’ or ‘under siege’. In one day it was retweeted almost 1,000 times.

And a cheeky final one, not so much of a campaign but I was pleased to see the ‘Scrooge Award’ has been ditched after retailers find their Christmas spirit. The annual award was for retailers that give the least amount to charity from charity Christmas cards, but this year was ditched after the vast majority of retailers responded to the campaign and boosted their contributions.

Wonder what next year will bring?