Most Successful Social Media Campaigns within the Charity Sector 2014


Stephen’s Story for Teenage Cancer Trust

Total funds raised to date: £4M +

What is it?

Over the last few months, the public followed Stephen Sutton on his journey as he battled terminal cancer, aged just 19. Although he sadly passed away on the 14th May of this year, he was able to create such a positive campaign on behalf of the Teenage Cancer Trust who enable teenagers to maintain quality of life and have the best chances of survival. Through social media platforms, he inspired and engaged people from across the globe with his unwavering determination enjoy life whilst fundraising.

Why did it work so well?

You couldn’t help but be charmed and inspired by Stephen, who lived every day to the fullest – completing his bucket list, meeting his celebrity idols, and even met the Prime minister. Although he had only intended to raise £10,000, he has so far raised over £4 million which goes to show the power of determination and a will to help other teenagers with cancer. He stated on his page that he “didn’t see the point in measuring life in terms of time anymore. I’d rather measure life in terms of making a difference”, which he certainly did achieve.

You can download Stephen’s charity single ‘Hope Aint a Bad Thing’ now, for which all of the royalties will go to the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Movember for the Movember Foundation

Total funds raised to date: £100M +

What is it?

Every November men are encouraged to ditch their razors, and grow moustaches to help raise awareness of men’s health – especially prostate and testicular cancers. At its core, the movement wants their ‘mo bros’ to have fun whilst doing some good. The campaign may be a decade old now, but in recent years the popularity and growing influence of social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram have enabled the whole community to proudly share their facial hair to the world.

Why did it work so well?

Ultimately, it gets men to raise awareness of issues they might not usually discuss, in a non-verbal and fun way. Men are able to join together to tackle an issue through participation in an activity which doesn’t really take much effort, yet is very effective due to the relative novelty and humour of growing a fine handle bar tash.
Furthermore, the Foundation has nurtured the viral growth of their cause through clever social media marketing, launching the Mo Tracker app in 2013, and the Mo Space each person who signs up is assigned to. Through Mo Space, they can share their progress, make donations, and encourage others to join the cause. It’s no wonder the Movember annual campaign is often lauded as one of the most successful

#NoMakeUpSelfie for Cancer Research

Total funds raised to date: £2M +

What is it?

Over the course of a week in March of this year, thousands of people (including celebrities) took to Facebook and Twitter to upload their #NoMakeUpSelfie’s, raising over £8M for Cancer Research UK. What is interesting about this social media campaign is that it was completely organic – it was not created or marketed by CRUK themselves, rather it began when Fiona Cunningham posted her make up free photo to show solidarity in response to Kim Novak receiving harsh criticisms of her appearance at the Oscars. As a result, CRUK now have the money to fund 10 clinical trials.
Why did it work so well?

The campaign’s success can be partly explained in the same was as Movember; it encourages people to participate through an effortless act, and then share that action through social media platforms. It even goes a step further by actively encouraging others to participate through nominations, creating a situation whereby the number of people posting #NoMakeUpSelfie’s (in addition to showing their donation text) went up exponentially because for every one posted, a handful of other people would be set the task.

There have been several online commentators questioning the motives behind why so many people were so eager to participate in it. After all, what does posting a makeup free selfie have to do with helping to fight cancer? It’s a valid question as after all traditionally people fundraise through sponsorships for participating in tough activities such as running a marathon or selling cakes, whereas in this case it was the individuals taking the selfie who donated money – which they could have done whether or not they posted the picture.

Personally, I don’t think it is very productive to attack the motives of the people who helped raise money through posting a #NoMakeUpSelfie. They raised a lot of money for a very worthwhile cause, money which they wouldn’t have received otherwise which can now be used to further research into cancer.


Posted: 12/06/2014 12:03:03