Using social media for a good cause… the end of traditional fundraising?

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We all talk about the benefits of using social media for business and your personal life, but have you ever stopped to consider how you could be doing your bit for charity? Getting involved is easy – millions have taken part in a #nomakeupselfie, growing a moustache for ‘Movember’ or more recently having one of your friends film you getting ice cold water poured over your head. Taking part in these trends boosts awareness and encourages others to raise money for charitable causes such as Cancer Research, mental health charities or the neurodegenerative illness, ALS.

A survey, Charity Social 100, carried out by Visceral Business shows that last year alone, the charities that were polled managed to double the number of fundraisers supporting their cause through social media, which leaves us wondering what might be in store for years to come.

These statistics demonstrate how using a social network such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can make you more receptive to charitable causes and just how easy it is to get involved in other, more exciting means of fundraising. We can all appreciate how frustrating it is getting harassed in the street on your lunch break or bombarded with flyers through the post. If recent social media activity is anything to go by, it certainly seems as if the digital era is providing real opportunities for charities to do something more innovative and proactive to engage with the mass public.

After all, over 80{20156fe61baea400d2663eb990f17abdabeb6ef183a2129287a793abd8ac1d8a} of 18 to 24-year-olds and 73{20156fe61baea400d2663eb990f17abdabeb6ef183a2129287a793abd8ac1d8a} of 25 to 34-year-olds use social networks – a growing audience for charitable organisations that rely on public support, not only for financial contributions but donors and volunteers as well.

It may seem daunting for charitable organisations to cross the boundary from traditional methods of fundraising to using more digital strategies, as this is the way it has been for so long. The traditional leaflets and radio commercials may pull on the heart strings of tens and thousands of people but are they going to make the audience want to engage in activities? Probably not, especially with the vast amount of competition in the sector. This is why social media is a great way to connect directly with a huge audience.

So let’s take the #nomakeupselfie campaign, for example. This initiative successfully raised £8million in just six days, which would probably not have been achievable if it wasn’t for the challenge going viral on social media. What is even better is that this wasn’t even a campaign that was launched by the official Breast Cancer Research charity, but one that began with just one individual eager to raise money to fight cancer.
So the next time you avoid getting involved with the social media fad because it’s embarrassing, or you feel it’s attention-seeking, think again, because while it may be attention-seeking… it’s for all the right reasons!