A fundraising campaign in which the author Patrick Ness offered to match donations from the public has raised nearly £190,000 in just over 24 hours for Save the Children’s appeal to help Syrian refugees.
The campaign, which has since attracted the support of several other authors, including David Nicholls, writer of the romantic novel One Day, began on Thursday morning when Ness, an American-born British children’s author, created a donation page on the online giving site Virgin Money Giving and pledged to match the first £10,000 of donations.
He first promoted the campaign on Twitter at about 10.30am on Thursday to his 30,000 followers, saying: "Okay, I don't know if this'll work but I'll match donations up to £10k to do *something* to help this refugee crisis".
After less than two hours, Ness had passed his initial £10,000 target and several other authors from the UK, Ireland and the US – including Nicholls and the novelists Rosamund Lupton and Jojo Moyes – began joining him in pledging to match any additional donations with £10,000 of their own money. Two groups of US-based authors also pledged to match £10,000 between them.
More than £60,000 was raised in the first five hours of the campaign and £159,000 from more than 3,000 donors by Third Sector’s deadline, 24 hours after it had begun.
In his latest update to the donation page, Ness said: "So what started out as a small thing has exploded. I offered to match up to £10,000 and you guys smashed that in under two hours. This is all so amazing; I've basically spent 24 hours a bit weepy. Thank you all so much! Keep it going!"
Ness also said that the British novelist Louisa Young had said she would donate £5,000 once the total raised reached £195,000.
He added on Twitter that Virgin Money Giving had said it would waive its fees if the total amount donated reached £250,000, which would represent an extra £5,000 for the appeal.
Virgin Money Giving, which retweeted Ness’s tweet, said yesterday on Twitter that he was doing an "amazing job" in raising money for Save the Children.
The charity tweeted yesterday about the campaign, describing Ness as an "incredible fundraiser".
The Sun newspaper ran an article on its front page this morning urging people to make donations to Save the Children’s appeal after the body of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi washed up on a beach near Bodrum in Turkey on Wednesday.