Social media is an everyday necessity for businesses and individuals alike. It helps keep people connected at all times, which is just one of the many possible uses of social media. Companies and charities have been using these networking sites to spread awareness and raise money for amazing causes with the help of people all around the world. We’ve compiled some of the best awareness and fundraising campaigns that have been introduced and shared via social media that have made a difference in millions of people’s lives.
Ice Bucket Challenge
When talking about Social Media making a difference, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from 2014 is one of the first to come to mind. The campaign was simple— dump freezing cold water on yourself to raise awareness for ALS and dare three of your friends to do the same. The Ice Bucket Challenge swept through every form of social media with 4.4 million tweets containing the hashtag #IceBucketChallenge, over 1 billion views for Ice Bucket Challenge videos on YouTube, and over 440 million Ice Bucket Challenge videos posted to Facebook. Major celebrities, including Justin Bieber, Oprah, and Jimmy Fallon, also began showing their support by posting videos of themselves participating in the challenge.
This campaign showed the true power social media has to do great things. From this campaign, over 115 million dollars were raised for ALS research in just 8 weeks! This also brought a 100% increase in funding for ALS treatment centers, allowing the centers to give care to thousands more than they originally could. And the best thing to come from this campaign is the difference it made for scientific research of the ALS disease. With the help of the money raised, researchers were able to discover three new genes that were linked to the ALS disease, which is one of the greatest helps to finding a cure. None of this would’ve been possible without the viral Ice Bucket Challenge social media campaign.
Evan from Sandy Hook
“Evan” is one of the most emotional and thought-provoking public service announcements to date. Evan is a video about how the signs of a school shooter and mental illness often go unnoticed, even though they are right in front of us. This video came from the organization Sandy Hook Promise, which is all about teaching schools and their students how to spot the signs. Since gun control is a topic that divides so many, they instead made sure that the video emphasized mental illness awareness, which is a cause we can all get behind.
“Evan” was posted on Facebook in December of 2016 and has already racked up more than 58,000 shares, nearly 4 million views on Facebook, and nearly 10 million views on YouTube. This viral campaign has truly raised awareness for an amazing cause and has begun the conversation of the importance of how mental illness awareness needs to be a priority in our school system. Since its founding, the Sandy Hook Promise organization has already provided “Know the Signs” training to 1.5 million students, faculty, and parents.
What is Movember? Is that even a word? Well, with how popular the term is on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, it might as well be. Movember, a blending of the words mustache and November, is a movement that started in 1999 as a small fundraiser that has grown to a massive social media campaign throughout the month of November. But what is it? It, currently, is a social media campaign where men do not shave for the entire month of November and post their progress on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the hashtags #Movember and #NoShaveNovember. These posts help raise money and awareness for both men’s mental health and different cancers, like testicular and prostate cancer, that only affect men. This has grown to be one of the longest last social media campaigns and still continues every November.
This campaign has made an amazing impact in men’s health since its founding, with over $710 million raised and more than 1,200 scientific breakthroughs throughout the 21 participating countries. In 2014 alone, there were 1.2 million social media mentions about the campaign, and in that same year, there were over 200,000 mentions in the month of October— a month before the campaign had even begun! However, that’s not all that’s helping this campaign. With the help of celebrities like Ryan Reynolds and David Beckham and companies like Jeep and Progressive all supporting the cause, both money donated and social media posts about the cause continue to rise every year.
Share your Ears
The #ShareYourEars campaign in 2016 was a very simple campaign done by The Walt Disney Company and The Make-A-Wish foundation. To celebrate Disneyland’s 60th anniversary, if you shared a picture of yourself on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ShareYourEars, the Walt Disney Company would donate $5 towards the Make-A-Wish foundation, maxing out at $1 million. With such a simple and easy way to give money to a great cause, people participated in droves to engage in this simple social media campaign. All over the world people shared their ears, and the campaign received a huge bump in participation when celebrities, such as Neil Patrick Harris and Tori Kelly, started sharing their ears as well.
With over 200,000 uses of the hashtag #ShareYourEars on Instagram, you could say that this campaign was clearly a success. But that’s not all. Because so many people shared their photos and used the hashtag, The Walt Disney Company decided to double their giving amount to $2 million, allowing them to help even more children.
One Love Manchester
On May 22nd, 2017, Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester was attacked, killing 23 people. Personally affected by the event, Ariana Grande decided to hold a benefit concert for the victims and their families just two weeks after the attack. Many stars, such as Katy Perry, Niall Horan, and Miley Cyrus, donated their talents to help the efforts of the benefit event. Ariana decided to give tickets to the concert to all of the people that were at the Manchester show the night of the attack for free, and the remaining tickets sold out in 6 minutes flat. But a major source of donations came from Facebook.
Ariana Grande decided to live stream the entire concert on her Facebook and YouTube pages, which increased the audience of the benefit from the few thousand of the stadium to millions of people across the globe. 82 million people have viewed the 3 hour long live stream on Facebook, which also racked up a total of 2.6 million likes and over 750,000 shares. From just the Facebook live video, more the $450 thousand was raised in support of the victims and their families. The concert’s message was all about love, and love was definitely spread from all around the world.
Social media platforms were meant to help us stay connected from all across the world, but we quickly recognized the power they hold to influence the world for the better. From all across the world, people are using social media platforms to make a difference. Whether you’re running a campaign on Instagram or spreading awareness on Facebook, using social media to make a positive impact should be a top priority.