My favourite video from the London Marathon is, hands down, this Parkinson’s UK video published on Facebook immediately after the run. It’s a moving, funny and captivating story told by a father and his daughter. And here is the effect of the post according to the third sector website:
“The video has been viewed over 41,000 times and has had a reach of 172.5k. They also saw a significant increase in donations to John’s fundraising page, which they attribute in part to this post. John had raised £4,750 before the post went out, and since the post has raised an extra £6,560 (not including gift aid)”
In the article, Kirsty Marrins shares few helpful insights based on how charities connected with their fundraisers at London Marathon this year:
- Building up case studies based their runners to be shared on social media.
- Sending a personalised social content to their London Marathon runners
- Posting real time interviews and media
- Sharing post-event stats and information.
The case of Belle Gibson has resurfaced today as she is facing a legal action in Australia over “deceptive conduct”, that may cost her and her company “The Whole Pantry” around a million. The blogger was very popular and gained people trust through social media, and she promised charities donations, raised through her app and book, which has never been made. Questions had been raised that led to the discovery of her faking her illness , a brain cancer, to gain more sympathy. Even more troubling the fact that she pretended to get cured without conventional treatment, through simply an healthy lifestyle and diet, misleading many of her followers who might had left their chemotherapy as a result of her statements.
It has been suggested she suffers from Munchausen Syndrome, a psychiatric disorder for which people fake illness to draw attention and sympathy (named after the 18th century German baron famous for embellishing tales of his military exploits to anyone who’d listen), and interestingly but not surprising, if that were true, she would appear to be not the first blogger to suffer from such problem. Another famous cases include Lacey Spears, who went to the extreme of killing her own child to gain media attention, Kaycee Nicole, who used to pretend to be teenager with Leukaemia! Trust in the space of Internet is valuable and volatile currency, and the lack of proper screening is not uncommon characteristic for online personalities. Charities need to be aware of this fact when approaching influencers.
Today an article by Rohan Hewavisenti advised charities to take advantage of twitter as a fundraising tool, highlighting an interesting advantage of the platform. He listed few examples of success, like the Cancer Research UK campaign #nomakeupselfie, which raised over £8m, or the #icebucketchallenge which helped in raising over £ 7m for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, to which it can be added the more recent and interesting case of Laura Darrall, whose campaign #itaffectsme, aimed to raise awareness for mental health issues, went rapidly viral.
The article points out how there are “no restrictions or permissions required to fundraise via Twitter or other social media”. He might refer to a new regulation, the “Fundraising Preference Service” that unable people to opt out from all telephone and mail fundraising.
The video is part of a fundraising campaign that went wrong.
Two American siblings decided to rise money for Glasgow as they proclaimed “we are planing to participate with local youth, sharing a message of hope and goodwill with energy and enthusiasm”. According to them “this could turn the situation around” for Glasgow referring to the poor state of the city and the Glasgow effects.
The video went viral reaching the Scots who were angered and offended with the siblings’ description of their city. Most likely they just wanted to raise a money for a nice trip to Glasgow, and maybe volunteering for a bit, but they didn’t expect that their message will reach out the scots turning them into unwelcome guests. Lesson: plan and research your content before it goes live.
The video shows two famous Swedish personalities trying to pay food with likes.
UNICEF viral campaign “Likes don’t save lives” in 2013 took a direct approach to remind people that liking or retweeting does not mean donation. People often tend to view social media as entertainment source rather than a serious platform for donating their money. People believe that they helped by clicking the “like” button. UNICEF’s ad helps in raising awareness to not stop at clicking but to go further and act. The ad was extremely successful and it helped the vaccination of 637 324 children against polio, showing that social media can educate and effectively reach people.
Matt Collins pointed out in the guardian how the high volume of messages exchanged at any time on social networks makes the charity only able to reach 2.6 % of their audience with their message, and victim of a staggeringly high bounce rate, going as far as suggesting to abandon social media marketing altogether. His article touches many aspects that are probably true and not just for charities: recently DeRay McKesson hoped he can turn his 330,000 followers into at least 20,000 votes in the mayoral race for Baltimore,obtaining instead a mere total of 3077. Does this mean that social media shouldn’t be used by charities or organisations? Going back to UNICEF success with their campaign, one may argue that it was mainly to be attributed to UNICEF established name, however I believe being aware of social media limitations and specificities informed the campaigned and in doing so enabled the organisation to best capitalise on their social media presence.
A campaign has been lunched by Collab supporting Teen Cancer America to spread the word about the teen cancer on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Vine. They requested from their audience three things: (1) To post a “ROAR” photo or video (2) To tag three friends and ask them to do the same (3) To tag the campaign name along with the specified channel.
They also went further by asking 7 Influencers to be part of the campaign:
- Brendon McNerney (Vine: 405.7 K followers)
- BigCatDerek ( Vine: 1.1M – Youtube: 46,932 subscriber)
- Julia Abner (Vine:107K- Instagram:9,500)
- Woodsie (Vine: 242.5 K- Youtube: 18,021- Facebook: 66,424- Twitter: 3463)
- Natalia Lopez (Youtube: 7653- Instagram: 12.8K)
- Joey Ahern (Vine: 580 K- Twitter: 13.7 k)
- TheyLoveArii (Youtube:380,038- Twitter: 93.9K)
Teaming up with influencers will help charities in reaching new people and extending their network. To do so, (1) charities need to identify channels and influencers with whom their audience is highly engaged and (2) to carefully plan how they can work with the influencer to create a strategic partnership.
Although I’m an advocate of social media, I also understand how the characteristic features can be a double edged swords. This is especially true when it comes to the phenomenon of peer pressure, as for example some studies indicate that teens who are constantly visiting social networks might be more likely to adopt poor habits, such as smoking, drinking. This danger is amplified by the anonymity that online identities can offer. Just two days ago, the Secret, an anonymous texting app startup officially announced they were closing their service, which its insider platform to break out news such as Ever notes acquisition. The company wasn’t short of earning but according to its CEO David Byttow “Secret does not represent the vision I had when starting the company”. The app was meant to create a safe space for people to spread information and safely share opinions but it came to the headlines instead for spreading unfounded news.
A similar app “Yik Yak”, which also keeps the user identity anonymous, has been used instead in very creative and positive ways. For example, it has been recently used to educated youth on HIV by a nonprofit (What Works in Youth HIV), which employed strategically to spread knowledge not just for HIV prevention but also to help remove the social stigma still attached to being HIV positive. Another positive case of the use of Yik Yak was its role in preventing suicide attempts at colleges . There is a clear potential for these kind of apps to reach out youth and be used for the social good, however, just as equally there is a potential for offering powerful outlets to a darker side of our society, where lying, cyberbullying, harassments can be dangerously empowered. This leads to hard questions in regards to the cost-benefit balance for these new technologies, where a a bigger moral responsibilities is placed on the user, compared to traditional media.