From anti-bullying campaigning to staging live festivals and concerts, small charities are being increasingly innovative in the way they use social media
Small charities do not often have massive resources at their disposal, so they rely on imagination and an open mind to utilise the potential of social media to help their mission. This has especially been the case during COVID-19, with charities pivoting their campaigning online through savvy social media promotion.
Here we highlight a raft of innovative ways that small charities have been using social media to punch above their weight, raise essential funds, reach a new audience, and spread their message.
Instagram is a perfect platform for animal charities to share engaging photos and videos of cats, dogs, and other animals in need of a home or support.
London-based small charity Catcuddles is among the best at using social media users’ fondness for animal pictures. It helps pair up unwanted cats with new owners and uses its Instagram account to match up pets, as well as showcase its work and how donations help.
The charity is particularly good at targeting events such as Mother’s Day and International Women’s Day.
Another charity to make good use of social media is anti-bullying charity Cybersmile Foundation. Cybersmile Foundation has linked up with Instagram for its Banter or Bullying campaign, which is aimed at highlighting the distinction between online chat and victimisation. This was timed to coincide with Anti-Bullying Week.
The charity campaign used social media influencers, including comedian Mo Gilligan and Zoe Sugg, who shared their own experiences with bullying on social media.
The campaign further linked up with Instagram by highlighting its tools to tackle cyberbullies. This includes a ‘comment warning’ feature that uses artificial intelligence to detect if users are posting something that may be offensive.
The charity has more than 36,000 followers and also uses its Instagram account to post messages to help bullying victims.
Called DigiFest2020, it asked those taking part to donate £3. Celebrities involved included Hollyoaks actress Annie Wallace and BBC Radio 1’s Jacob Edward.
The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity managed to boost its Christmas fundraising in 2020 by pivoting its annual festive Celebrate a Life Campaign online.
Despite not being able to hold its annual in-person carol concert, the event was staged virtually. More than 350 people tuned in to the live video on Facebook. Those taking part also had the chance to name a star on a virtual tree on the Charity’s website. The 2019 raised £103,000, which was as surpassed in 2020, with £112,000 raised.
The charity also keeps its 34,000 Facebook followers engaged with further posts and videos involving celebrities, including children’s author David Walliams and the actor Brian Blessed.
Royal Marsden Cancer Charity Managing Director Antonia Dalmahoy said: “We know how important Celebrate a Life is to our patients, their loved ones and our staff. We were all disappointed not to be able to gather together at the hospital. However, the virtual service was a huge success and we’re incredibly grateful to everyone who named a star and joined us virtually to celebrate the lives of those affected by cancer.”
Mental Health Foundation is one of the most Tweeted charities by MPs over the past year, according to research by Poli Monitor into the social media engagement between MPs and charities. According to PoliMonitor, the charity was the third most Tweeted by MPs, following the Royal British Legion and the Samaritans.
PoliMonitor said: “These Tweets can range from showing support, sharing a hashtag of a charity’s latest campaign, defending, or, occasionally, criticising charities for their work, [which are] key metrics for charities looking to continue their important work under difficult circumstances with the help of elected representatives online in spreading their message.”
Among recent social media posts to tap into the political landscape is the Mental Health Foundation’s Tweets around the mental health challenges facing women who are victims of violence.
\uD83D\uDCE2We want anyone who identifies as a woman to know that we stand with you. Violence against women and girls is leading to mental ill health and rates have increased in recent years. This needs to end. https://t.co/nFxeoOD9oF pic.twitter.com/rClnbJmtsu— Mental Health Fdn (@mentalhealth) March 12, 2021
At the ‘NGO x TikTok for Good Event’ in 2019, the audience heard from around 50 charities who have been successfully linking up with short-form video social media platform TikTok to create innovative content.
This campaign saw the charity share inspiring stories of the young people that it supports. This included helping gang leaders to become music leaders, as well as tackling mental health issues.