The Socialisation of the Charity Sector

It’s an exciting time to work in the charity sector. It wasn’t so long ago that we saw the great and the good, from Mark Zuckerberg to Bill Gates to Cristiano Ronaldo, drenching themselves in buckets of ice. Technology is increasingly the driving force in mobilising people and helping charities to spread the word, and it provides easy means for people to donate money.  Moreover, no cause is too great or too small. For every Ice Bucket Challenge, there are millions of people doing swimathons and other feats to raise money for all kinds of charitable endeavours. Below are examples of where technology has been the driving force in helping charities achieve their objectives, one bucket of ice-cold water at a time.

1. The Ice Bucket Challenge

Cristiano Ronaldo just had to do it in his underwear. Charlie Sheen decided to replace the ice for cash. No matter, the campaign was hugely successful, and spread through social media like a burning bush. Facebook has recently reported a staggering 14 million videos uploaded onto its servers. Facebook also reported that Ice Bucket Challenge videos have been viewed by more than 440 million people. According to the ALS website, a total of $115 million has been received in donations since July of this year.

What was the idea?

The concept of the Challenge is to simply pour very cold water over your head and nominate your friends and colleagues to do the same. The Challenge was originally associated with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Motor Neurone Disease as it’s called in the UK).

The significance of the campaign

According to the NHS, Motor Neurone Disease only affects around 5,000 people in Britain, which makes it difficult for charities to raise awareness of the condition and raise funds for further research – we still don’t know how the disease kills a person’s cells. Technology has made it much easier to donate, for example through a simple platform such as Just Giving’s text donation platform, and the ALS has reported that the enthusiasm generated over the Ice Bucket Challenge, infinitely helped by social media – YouTube, Twitter, Facebook -  has led to increased take-up of other fundraising events and activities.

 2. No-Make-Up Selfie

Another charity campaign that clogged up people’s Facebook timelines and Twitter streams is the ‘No Make-up Selfie’.

What was the idea?

The concept of this challenge is even easier than the Ice Bucket Challenge: upload a photograph of yourself online, make-up free, and nominate others to do the same. The beneficiary of the campaign was Cancer Research, although Cancer Research did not initiate the campaign.

The significance of the campaign

What began as a relatively contained campaign (helped, no doubt by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Jemima Khan) resulted in $1million being raised within 24 hours. On reporting this achievement on Twitter with a ‘text to donate’ code, text donations received reached a staggering 700,000.  Thanks to mobile technology, which provided a simple means to encourage people to donate, and the multiplying effect of social media platforms such as Twitter, an extraordinary $8million was raised in that week.

See also: 5 Ways to Organize a Successful Charity Event Within Your Company

Technology has brought enormous benefits to those working in the charity sector. It has made it easy for people to raise money for causes they care about. It offers charities multiple ways to engage people to their cause and streamline their processes, thus helping them to save money. The future for the charity sector looks bright, and effective use of technology will be the key to success.

ALS website




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