How Social Marketing Is Changing the Way People Fundraise

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When we think of content that is widely shared on social media, it is no mistake to think of Crying Jordan and Pepe Frog. Memes like these get shared often because they’re culturally relevant and resonate with a broad variety of people. The same applies to a social marketing campaign, because in order for content to get shared, a brand’s messaging needs to resonate with a wide audience to create broad talkability and substantial buzz over the campaign period. 

How can you successfully market a campaign through social media? Master these three elements in your next campaign and measure their impact: 

  1. Sharable content is always organic.
  2. Your content needs to be timely
  3. Be bold if you want to reach social success.
Credit: Shareity Inc.

If we consider one of the most memorable and effective social fundraising campaigns, Movember and the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, it is easy to see one of the main features: action. One simple, bold action can set your awareness campaign apart and get people fully involved in spreading your message.

Sweet Movember 

The year is 2010. November has just rolled in. You take in your surroundings on your university campus, maybe at the office canteen, and by the looks of things, it seems to be a Ron Swanson type of day. 

You later learn that it is in fact Movember, a worldwide campaign that calls for men to grow out their mustaches to bring attention and awareness to men’s health issues, like prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health.

Credit: Fran Jacquier, Unsplash

Back in 2003, two friends were looking to increase the awareness of men’s health issues in Australia, so they invited their mates to grow their mustaches for the month of November. What started organically with 30 participants in their hometown grew steadily every year, and by 2010, the movement went global, reaching one million people across 11 countries and   generating over $157 million dollars in that time. 

Today, 21 countries participate in Movember, with over 6 million men and women involved in the awareness campaigns since 2003, which have all contributed to the organization funding over 1,250 men’s health projects. November has become a month-long event and a time when people all over the world look forward to. A plucky symbol of awareness and support worn on your face is now synonymous with men’s health awareness.

Movember has been a global awareness event for more than 10 years. This long-term social marketing campaign is worthy of examination to understand how social marketing is changing how people fundraise in 2021 and beyond. 

Ice Buckets of Success for ALS 

What could compel millions of people around the world to dump a bucket of ice-cold water over their heads? A good cause and brilliant marketing strategy, of course.

Credit: Bill Gates ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, YouTube

In 2012, Massachusetts resident Pete Frates was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, and started posting about his diagnosis on Facebook. His content was picked up two years later in 2014 by a former Boston College baseball player who started the Ice Bucket Challenge with his friends and family on the network to raise awareness about Frates’ diagnosis. 

To take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge, people would take a video of themselves dumping a bucket of ice-cold water over their heads, and then nominate friends and family to do the same. These actions, shared from peer to peer, were reciprocated by sponsors’ donations to ALS research and awareness campaigns. Within just a month after the first Ice Bucket Challenge video was posted, more than 17 million ALS Bucket Challenge videos were posted on Facebook, driving over 10 billion views. ALS.org reported that it had received $106 million in Ice Bucket donations from over 3 million donors. 

Started in the Massachusetts community, and grown organically across America and the world, the initiative shows how one good deed can reach people globally in less than a month. An unmistakable show of support, grassroots advocacy and patriotism, dumping a load of water on your head has been given a name and a meaningful value. 

Both of the campaigns mentioned above dared to champion a cause and encouraged bold action to spread awareness. From local awareness campaigns, they captured the hearts and minds of millions of people around the world, and importantly, got them physically engaged with the cause. Strong calls to action encouraged sharing and inclusivity in the campaigns. The power of social media and engagement through user-generated content is brought to light when used to affect the greater good. 

As a strategy to reach the world and spread a meaningful message, social marketing offers fundraisers the opportunity to reach the world. What is also clear is that your social fundraising campaign can take the form of a short-term or long-term campaign depending on your calls to actions. Will your campaign own the same month every year, like Movember, or create a memorable moment for the entire world?


Kgabane Lengane

Headshot of Kgabane Lengane

Passionate about brand strategy, I love making a difference through the campaigns I’m a part of. I have experience building strategies and creating content for leading brands around the world.

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