Kirsty Marrins: Top 10 digital charity campaigns of 2016, part 2

Our columnist counts down from number five to number one in the second of two articles on the best online and digital campaigns of the year

Kirsty Marrins
Kirsty Marrins

Last week I revealed the first half of my top 10 digital charity campaigns. Here’s part two, with the all-important Christmas #1. Let me know if you agree or if you have other favourites.

5. RNLI – Saving Lives at Sea

In July, the BBC ran a three-part documentary featuring the work of the RNLI, called Saving Lives at Sea. After seeing how it was organically trending on Twitter, the RNLI social media team decided to produce some Facebook Live videos (which were launched in the UK only in April). During one episode, the crew from Tower RNLI were taking part in a Facebook Live Q&A when they were interrupted by a real-life call out. That Facebook Live post has had more 23,000 views, 66 shares and 276 comments. The RNLI social media team is always quick to test new social media features and platforms, and in this instance being one of the first charities to test Facebook Live and integrate it with its Saving Lives at Sea campaign really paid off.

4. St John Ambulance and Tesco – CPR Babygrow

I wrote about this life-saving CPR babygrow, a partnership between Tesco and St John Ambulance that aims to teach parents cardiopulmonary resuscitation, back in October. In just one week the video had reached five million organic views on Facebook and the #CPRbabygrow hashtag had 300,000 impressions on Twitter. Thanks to popular demand, you can now purchase a limited edition of the CPR babygrow online for a £3 donation to St John Ambulance.

3. Unicef – #EndViolence

This campaign has only just launched but it’s already showing impressive statistics. It’s very clever – as the charity says, "Beckham chose the marks on his skin, but millions of children bear marks that they haven’t chosen". In a harrowing video that’s just over a minute long, Beckham’s tattoos change to tell a different story for Unicef’s #EndViolence campaign. The YouTube video had reached almost 24,000 views in just 24 hours and, in the same time period, this tweet had more than 14,000 retweets, 26,000 likes and 177 replies.

2. Amnesty – 360 Syria

This 360° immersive reporting experience shows the devastation caused by barrel bombs in Syria. Filmed by Syrian media activists and narrated by the Syrian activist and blogger Razan Ghazzawi, this virtual reality platform acts as a body of evidence of human rights abuses, but it also provides a message of hope. The campaign is so ground-breaking, it won the Third Sector Awards Digital Innovation of the Year prize.

1. The Helen Titchener Fund – Paul Trueman and Refuge

If you ever needed proof of the power of an individual starting a grass-roots movement for a good cause in 2016, look no further than the Helen Titchener Fund. A fan of BBC Radio 4's The Archers, Paul Trueman, had listened for months as the character Rob Titchener slowly shut down every aspect of his wife Helen’s life. But why was no one helping her? One night, Paul suddenly had an idea – why couldn’t the audience help Helen get the help and support she so desperately needed? In 10 minutes, Paul had set up a JustGiving Page for Refuge.

Months later, £200,000 (with Gift Aid) has been raised and Paul and Refuge have been nominated for countless awards. This campaign is about more than just fundraising – it’s brought the issue of domestic violence into the consciousness of thousands of people and allowed those who were victims to speak up. It’s proved a lifeline for many.

Paul hit the nail on the head when he said: "You really can change the world a little bit with a smartphone, an idea and a Twitter account." This campaign was started by a supporter, but Refuge has worked with Paul throughout to galvanise supporters, reach a new audience, gain media coverage and share statistics, stories and milestones. It’s this collaboration that has earned it my top spot.

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