Most brands dream of a viral social media campaign, and when they could result in millions raised for a great cause, the stakes are even higher. We’ve chosen our top five charity awareness campaigns to reflect on the creative ways charities are raising the profile of their cause on social media.
No Makeup Selfie Challenge
In an age where we have unlimited access to the world’s most beautiful people at the palm of our hands, it’s easy to feel down about our own appearance. However, one morning, rather than seeing the usual dolled-up faces of our favourite celebrities and done-up friends, we saw those same faces with #NoMakeup. People from all over the world, from celebrities to our neighbours, began participating in the challenge – posting without makeup as a way to promote and appreciate natural beauty. While it started out as a simple twitter trend, the #NoMakeupSelfie Challenge eventually evolved into a way to fundraise. Cancer Research UK started the transition from a simple trend to a charity awareness campaign by posting a picture with one of their doctors holding up a sign that read: “We ‘heart’ your #nomakeupselfie! If you want to #beatcancersooner text BEAT to 70099 to donate £3.” Within 24 hours they received £1 million in donations!
In 2017 the Scottish charity, Crynenians, created their Ask Alex chatbot in the hope of changing people’s perception of the homeless. Supporters were able to “ask Alex” about his story and receive responses based on the true stories of homeless people who have been involved with Crynenians. This helped explain their current situation and shed light on the events that brought them there as a way to dispel common myths surrounding homeless people. So often we are quick to jump to conclusions about the homeless based on society’s preconceived notions, but Ask Alex reminded supporters that being homeless is rarely a choice and instead, a matter of circumstance.
Tapping into our hashtag-obsessed world, Water is Life travelled to Haiti to create a both comical and impactful video. The video features Haitians (living in quite the opposite of the first world) quoting tweets that mention #firstworldproblems. While the tweets themselves are fairly self-aware, watching those who have ‘real problems’ provided a serious reality check.
No Shave November/Movember
While they are separate, the two cancer-focused, facial hair campaigns are regularly grouped together. Both promote the growing of facial hair (or all hair for that matter) all throughout the month of November as a way to raise awareness for cancer. However, Movember takes it one step further by focusing on male mental health on top of prostate and testicular cancer. Two extremely popular campaigns which did a fantastic job in raising awareness for their causes.
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
And finally, probably the most well-known charity awareness campaign of our time comes in the form of an Ice Bucket Challenge. Celebrities, friends, and family all over social media posted videos of themselves thanking the people who nominated them, explaining the cause, getting soaked by a bucket of ice water, and passing it onto their nominees to keep the challenge going. The campaign did an incredible job of raising awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS), a neurodegenerative disease in which little is known of its cause or cure. In its first year, the challenge raised £115 million. This incredible number even lead to a breakthrough in research – finding a new gene associated with the disease. Hopefully, with continued support we won’t be too far from preventative treatment… or even a cure!