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3 amazing times social media brought people together to make a difference

10/ 05/ 17 Mariel Rubinstein

You definitely can’t underestimate social media as a powerful tool for communication. So, how have people already used these platforms to make a difference and why were they successful in making a change?


1. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge


The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge became the viral social media trend of 2014. People all over the world got involved by dunking a bucket of ice cold water over their heads in a bid for donations. The challenge aimed to raise both money and awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, an illness that causes the death of neurons which control voluntary muscles.


The campaign raised more than $100m in a 30-day period and was able to fund various research projects on the disease. Since the challenge, project researchers have revealed that they have identified a new gene associated with the disease and this could lead to new treatment possibilities!



  1. 2. #nomakeupselfie


The viral social media campaign #nomakeupselfie changed the #nofilter and #Iwokeuplikethis for the better. The campaign started when people posted photos of themselves on social media without makeup using the hashtag #nomakeupselfie. However, once Cancer Research noticed the trend they quickly got involved and asked people to start donating via text. The campaign rose an incredible £8m in just 1 week!




3. Joss Whedon gets a ‘sh*t ton of famous people’ together for an anti-Donald Trump video


Some of Hollywood’s biggest names got together to create a video reminding American citizens to vote. They also gave a pretty strong helping hand in which candidate to vote for. The video campaign, called ‘Save the Day’, features a bunch of famous faces telling you why your vote matters. 


“You only get this many famous people together if the issue is one that truly matters to all of us. A disease or ecological crisis or a racist, abusive coward who could permanently damage the fabric of our society.”



You can’t argue with the fact that these social media campaigns really took off. But, why did they work?


They don’t come straight in with the ask. A lot of the time, charities - understandably - think people will really value their cause if they explain it very loudly and often enough. These campaigns don’t do that. Instead, they piggyback onto a ruthless attempt at going viral.


Let’s look at Cancer Research's example - they don’t just ask people for money, they invite them to take a selfie. Who doesn’t like taking selfies, right? They’re fun, easy and you’re letting them do all the work of spreading your message without lifting a finger. And oh look, you’re happily collecting donations too. Everybody wins.


It’s all about reaching as many people as possible by giving them something intriguing, informative and fun that they want to share. Not just asking for money!


But, is a fun viral social media campaign enough?


Sorry to disappoint you, but the answer’s no. You need to make sure you have a rock-solid follow-up plan because on their own these things are flash in the pan. With a great viral campaign, your 5% conversion to donation will represent a lot more money with an audience of 5 million than 5 thousand. But, to keep hold of that 5%? It’s all about your follow-up plan. This includes things like thank you emails or text messages letting them know how they’ve made a difference. Without this, your 5% will forget about you and your campaign. So, don’t let it happen.


Mariel Rubinstein

Digital Content Producer from London

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