The international health charity is challenging people to swap their normal diet for peanut paste for one day

Merlin's latest fundraising idea
Merlin's latest fundraising idea

What is it?

Merlin is running a fundraising challenge based on swapping a day’s normal diet for three packets of PlumpyNut peanut paste. PlumpyNut is a high-calorie, vitamin-packed paste that the charity uses to treat malnutrition in the countries where it works.

The public is being asked to sign up on Twitter and set up fundraising pages with a minimum target of £50. This is enough to provide a child with three sachets a day for eight weeks.

How does it work?

PlumpyNut peanut pasteOnce someone signs up they will be sent a box of peanut paste sachets to eat over the course of a day. They must also set up a Virgin Money Giving account to allow friends and family to sponsor them.

Participants are encouraged to tweet as much as they can about their experience to spread awareness of the campaign.

The challenge runs until the end of March.

How’s it going so far?

Sign-ups now stand at 170 and counting. The charity is hoping that 1,000 people sign up in total. TV presenter Gail Porter, actor Hugh Bonneville, the current Phantom of the Opera Simon Sharpen and radio personality the Reverend Richard Coles are four celebrities who are taking part.

Why is the charity doing it?

Deniz Hassan, Merlin’s digital marketing manager, says: "We wanted to be the first charity to really harness the Twitter community and to convert engagement into donations. We needed something fun and easy, with no huge physical or financial challenge. The vast majority of the challengers hadn’t previously heard of Merlin."

The campaign has been devised and created in-house and is being promoted on the charity’s Twitter feed using #plumpynut.

Third Sector verdict:

By asking participants to give up their usual diet for just one day, this lively campaign will appeal to those who want to help charity but are unwilling to dedicate themselves to a more forbidding challenge. The target of £50 is also achievable, while enabling participants to experience what it is like for the charity’s beneficiaries, who need these sachets to survive. The website’s colourful and attractive design, coupled with the integration of tweets from participants, make for a fun campaign, produced on a minimal budget.

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