Growing Our Social Hearts. How Social Media Can Help Charities

Growing Our Social Hearts. How Social Media Can Help Charities

Charities are changing the ways they fundraise. Spreading news on social media reaches wider audience than using materialized tools such as traditional advertisement. People are connected, and they are more likely to spend more time on Facebook and Twitter than watching conventional media such as TV, boards or listening to fundraisers in the streets. Using more social media to raise communities for charity causes, grows the number of people making online donations. But some charities still believe in offline fundraising. For example in the UK, one out of five charities, don’t have facilities to accept online donation, highlights a Barclay’s study1.

The charities that are active on social media, give people the opportunity to participate directly in good causes.

1- Use the Internet as the opportunity to spread causes

Twitter and Facebook appear to be the two most important tools used by charities for connecting people in the UK2. These two are followed by YouTube and LinkedIn. It is a fact, people connect and engage easier with charities on social media than via traditional ways. Unicef reaches more than 5 700 000 followers on Facebook and more than 25K on Twitter. Save the Children is about to get 1 500 000 followers on Facebook and has 10.5K on Twitter. Pictures and videos posted are viewed and shared by people all over the world. The charity launch news or a campaign, connected people make the rest.

2- Sharing stories of people to get attention and donation ?

Campaigning online is strategic. Such as advertisers, charities or people who run campaigns for causes, have to get attention on them, and push people to go to the donation. People need to be sensitive to stories and confident about making a good choice to donate.
Social media can make a story become viral. It is what happened with Rachel Beckwith, a young girl who wanted to raise $300 for her birthday to help African Children to get clean water. She didn’t get enough and unfortunately, a car crash took her life few weeks after. Family and friends decided to make her wish come true and reopened the donation page on MyCharity: Water. Then, people on social media spread this story which became viral with a campaign on her name on Facebook and Twitter. Just a few months later, $1,265,823 was raised. A video shows children with clean water, and results of the donation.

Unicef and other charities use people stories, giving names on children’s faces, materializing what we already know about poverty and bad children conditions over the world. Launched on social media permit them to catch attention and raise awareness among charities’ causes. What appears clear is that social media have a huge role to play in successful campaigns. But is a story among other sufficient to push people to convert a “like” into a “donate” action?

In the UK, people can see everyday campaigns from big organizations such as Unicef, Save the Children UK or Oxfam. Short videos on TV, printed advertising in the underground, fundraisers in the street, charities send messages on different platforms. But to get attention on the Internet, within so many advertisement and content, is difficult. They need to innovate in a way people will be more likely to share the cause by themselves. That is the example of the British charity Refuge, focused on domestic violence. “Surfing on the online habits” of make-up tutorials on Youtube, they created their own one. A beaten woman, gives us advices to cover cuts and bruises she has got because of her husband. Refuge used social media behaviours to serve its good ends. Today, the video has more than 2 500 000 views on Youtube.

Last year, War Child UK used video games format to raise awareness on the necessity of protecting children in war. This smart video makes the illusion that you are the child in a situation of war in a video game, trying to reach objectives : find your dad and then survive while seeing your dad being shot, hearing bullets, being hurt. War Child UK innovates with this video format. New technologies were used to chock people, by placing them in the heart of the video. They can easily believe they are the “player” and they are in danger. It is chocking and working perfectly.

Innovation in technologies can be very efficient for charities. Immersive videos like 360° degree video and virtual reality,… Can you imagine being in the centre of a conflict, with a child view and height, in a village completely infected by Ebola, in the middle of a refugee boat, seeing your parents dying with a virtual reality device? Will you be indifferent? Charities can and must use digital innovation to spread causes via social media. It has much more weight when chocking people and placing them at the centre of the action, even more if the action is horrible. Signing petition or donate then become more necessarily.