The Best NGOs’ Social Media Fundraising Campaigns Of All Time

Best NGOs social media campaigns


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Every person, brand and NGO organisation has a unique story to tell. NGOs can use social media to tell their stories to reach more people, increase donations and inspire potential donors. Read on to take inspiration from some of the best innovative and creative online fundraising campaigns of all time that shows the possibilities of what can be done.

NGOs’ social media strategies that increase donations

In recent years, the general public’s usage of social media has increased and most businesses have jumped onto this utilising the channels for their marketing efforts. NGOs have also utilised social strategies and had great success with bringing in donations. 

Want to know more about how your NGO could use social media strategies? Read our comprehensive guide here.

Below are some of the ways social networks can increase donations, demonstrated with the best fundraising campaigns of all time.

Create interactive, supporter-personalised campaigns, as Pledge Your Birthday by Charity:Water

One of the best-known charities setting new best-practice standards in the digital NGO and social space is Charity:Water

With a large and engaged online community, due to excellent branding, design, storytelling, and marketing, the organisations online fundraising techniques are highly innovative. 

Charity:Water don’t just ask straight out for money, they make sure that interacting and participating in their cause is fun, challenging and rewarding. 

Charity:Water Social Media campaign

Their September Campaign, asks people born in September (the founder Scott Harrison’s birthday month) to give up gifts and ask for birthday donations instead. Charity:Water acts as the tool and vehicle that offers participants to set up their own campaign in the name of social good. Every year the participants will receive an email reminder, so they can set up an ongoing birthday pledge which encourages them to continue to fundraise yearly. 

In 2015 more than 1.8million US was raised this way. This campaign also pushes out the charities mission to participants individual networks and demonstrates the power of social media as a tool for word of mouth impact. 

Pushing out one-day matched funding via social media, like Grey2k

Grey2k is an animal welfare NGO that aims to protect greyhounds. Many charities partake in match funding, which is where a donation from the general public is matched (usually doubled) by a grant, government fund, trust, or corporate donors.

Usually, these campaigns run over a week or two, but Grey2k used this technique on Giving Tuesday and with one of their corporate donors on board, pushed out the campaign on social media for one day. This is a great way to get millennial donors on board, as one of the reasons they donate is because they know their gift will be doubled. 

The campaign started at 8 am, with a strict plan to spread the post in the social channels until the target was reached. It kicked off with an email, and then Twitter and scheduled Facebook posts every hour, along with posts on Google+ and Pinterest. They encouraged people to give ‘small’ since donations would be doubled, which worked really well.

French Association of Sea Rescuers created user-generated content campaigns shown on a social wall

User-generated content campaigns are in for the win. One of the main benefits of social media is that it enables two-way communication with builds deeper engagement with NGOs’ supporters. A great idea is to invite the audience to share content on their own channels. 

The French Association of Sea Rescuers, SNSM, launched a campaign asking people to share the charities messages on Sea Rescuers’ World Day. It was pushed out by social media software and reached the most trending Tweets list. 

SNSM social media campaign

Sometimes, it’s hard to see a direct correlation between social media and income, however, when social walls are used it serves as proof. The social wall shows everyone’s posts related to the campaign which encourages others to get involved too. It builds credibility, highlights the diversity of everyone who’s taken part, and can harness further involvement by sharing social influences posts too. It’s also a great way to find micro influences, and provide support to them so they can increase their engagement.

NGOs’ social media content that engages: the power of video

The power of NGOs use of social media goes deeper than just increasing income. It’s one of the most effective marketing channels to engage supporters using techniques such as video. Here are some examples of charities who have done just that.

The “Love Has No Labels” video is a must-watch. And goes to show viral videos can have more reach than any paid marketing techniques

Love Has No Labels is a movement to promote acceptance and inclusion. The organisation launched in 2015 and works with NGO partners such as Human Rights Campaign and corporate partners such as Bank of America. 

The aim was to create awareness about the issue and campaign using a video created by The Ad Council which went viral. The video, using user-generated content of people standing in front of a screen that removed all of their physical ideality except for their skeleton, was pushed out on marketing channels, including social. Video viewers were then driven to the website which featured a quiz and gave supporters options on how to get involved including new communities on Facebook and Twitter where audiences could find additional content. 

The initial campaign video was pushed out in Upworthy’s Facebook channel and then received strong earned media support across press and broadcast, which was valued at $6.4 million in coverage. 

The campaign videos have had more than 345 millions views, and one even became one of the first social good ads to receive the Emmy Award for Outstanding Commercial. Hundreds of celebrities shared this campaign, including Lady Michelle Obama.

Hope and Homes for Children enlisted celebrities and the public to End the Silence by encouraging everyone to participate

Hope and Homes for Children created an original ‘End the Silence’ campaign. The public and celebrities were invited to share ‘musical memories’ of the songs that remind them of their childhood. The tracks were shared on an interactive campaign website and included Youtube Videos and a hashtag. 

This example is a new way to highlight the NGOs cause, without showing the traditional negative imagery of children suffering, and encouraging participation for everyone. It connected old and new supporters emotionally to the cause by linking it with their own childhood memories, in a collaborative and fun way. The campaign inspired thousands to join in and raised over £5million. 

Celebrities such as Elton John, Ellie Golding, Paul McCartney and Ed Sheeran were involved, which added to the campaign’s success.

Movember developed the video campaign ‘Unmute-Ask Him’ using the ‘mute’ video function to demonstrate the idea metaphorically 

Another innovate NGO video campaign, this time the cause was Movember and World Suicide Prevention Day. The idea was to highlight the role that family and friends can play when supporting men struggling with their mental health. 

The Unmute-Ask Him campaign consisted of three subtitled videos, which showed men doing simple tasks, disguised as a “how-to” series. However, when the user unmutes the video, they can hear what the men are really thinking about, and what’s running through their mind. The metaphor here is both that of muted videos on social media and how mental health is often a silent struggle. The videos were hosted and pushed out on Movember’s social channels and website.

So, what are the best NGOs’ social media practices to inspire donors?

Create platforms where supporters can generate their own mini-campaigns and make participation fun, interactive, challenging and rewarding. 

Jump on global days such as Giving Tuesday and push out matched-funding digital media campaigns over one day. 

User-generated content and tools such as social walls enable two-way communication and spread reach and impact. 

Innovative videos designs to “go viral” can harness more media coverage than traditional public relations. 

Encourage participation from everyone and connect to supporters emotionally in creative ways 

Think of new ways to demonstrate ideas using metaphors.

There you have it! All of these excellent creative campaigns are proof of what is possible with social media. Campaigns can be hosted entirely online, or pushed out via the channels to increase donations and engage audiences. From all of the examples, we can see how powerful video content is for inspirational and effective storytelling. The best part it these techniques can be applied to any cause or budget. Use these examples as inspiration when planning your next campaign and start to think of innovate ways to use social media tools readily available to make an impact.

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