The more awareness you create about your cause, the more funds you are likely to raise. And there is no better tool for creating awareness than a well-crafted social media campaign. Around 7 in 10 Americans use social media to connect with family and friends. And studies show that social media drives over 50% of traffic to fundraising pages.
So, whether you want to raise more funds or just bring awareness to your cause, social media can be one of the keys to achieving your objectives. And if you want to achieve success fast, you should learn from others who’ve already been there and done that. By studying success stories, you can avoid their mistakes and emulate what works — to definitively give your social media campaigns the boost they need.
This article will look at some of the social media campaigns you can learn from and use as inspiration for your projects. But first –
What is a social media campaign?
A social media campaign is a series of social media posts centred around a single idea to achieve a specific goal. You can run a campaign celebrating your 10-year anniversary, promoting a new product, or focusing on increasing the number of your monthly donors. You can use one or more social networks to achieve your goal.
Some of the elements you need to run a successful social media campaign include:
- A clear goal (which is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based)
- A clear plan (detailing the platforms to use, the messages to share, when to share them, etc.)
- Robust tracking tools (to assist in your analysis)
Examples of social media campaigns that performed well
1. Charity: Water and the StreamForClean Campaign
Charity: Water, a nonprofit that provides clean water all around the world, is no stranger to online fundraising. In 2009, for example, it was the first beneficiary of a massive Twitter fundraiser. The event brought users from 200 cities and raised over $250,000. But one of their recent social media campaigns, a live-streaming fundraiser, provides loads of lessons to learn from.
The campaign was launched in September 2022 and it was called the StreamForClean campaign. It ran for the entire month. Gamers and creators could set up live streams with Tiltify and raise funds in no time.
Throughout the month, Charity: Water consistently posted on their Facebook page reminding people to take part in the stream and providing advice on how to set up a livestream and solicit donations. The nonprofit also celebrated its wins in some of the posts, telling people how much had been raised so far.
- Educate your followers about the cause. In the case of the 2022 StreamForClean campaign, the goal was to raise funds for clean water in Zimbabwe.
- Show the impact the donations will have. Charity: Water posted videos and images showing happy people drinking clean water.
- Post consistently and keep the content varied. They made a couple of posts throughout the month, with each post touching on a different angle.
- Keep updating people on how your event is unfolding so they know you are accountable.
- Thank those who have made notable contributions to the campaign.
- Encourage people to get in touch if they have questions or need more instructions. Charity: Water encouraged users to DM if they had questions.
2. The American Red Cross and Hurricane Ian
In September 2022, a destructive Category 4 storm, Hurricane Ian, struck western Cuba and the southeast United States (especially Florida and South Carolina). It was the deadliest hurricane to hit Florida since 1935.
The American Red Cross jumped in to help all those affected. To raise enough funds for the relief efforts, they launched a social media campaign and promoted it on all their social media channels.
One of the notable things about the campaign was that they let those affected tell their story. In one video, a couple is seen at a Red Cross shelter and they comment on how they have been well taken care of, how they are getting meals every day, and how the volunteers are even taking time to play with the children.
In another video, a woman is next to her ruined home talking with volunteers, thanking them for all the help they have rendered. She can be seen in the video saying how even someone saying “Hello” means a lot — it shows that someone is out there and looking after them.
These videos were promoted on all Red Cross’s social media channels.
- Let the beneficiaries or those in need of the donation share their story, pain, and gratitude.
- Embrace the power of one — don’t think of the donations as going to help 2,600 people affected by a disaster in Florida. Single out individuals and share their stories.
Know how your donors like to give. In the case of the American Red Cross, they allowed people to donate via text instead of just using a credit card or PayPal.
3. The Ocean Cleanup Sunglasses
About 8 million tons of plastic waste goes into the oceans every year, harming marine life and ecosystems. Plastic particles have also been found in drinking water, salt, beer, and other things we consume, thereby affecting our health. Estimates say that plastic will outweigh all fish in the sea by 2050. This is why The Ocean Cleanup was born — to get rid of as much garbage as possible from the oceans.
But they had a little problem — figuring out how to raise more money to fund the cleaning up of oceans. In the end, they decided to recycle the garbage from their first catch into sunglasses.
The glasses were launched in 2020 with great fanfare — they had a beautiful stage set up, and the entire event had the feel of a big tech company unveiling its newest cool gadget.
The glasses were sold at $199 with all the proceeds going towards cleaning oceans. By 2022, they had sold out, fulfilling the goal of selling enough glasses to clean up 500,000 football fields’ worth of ocean.
- Launch your social media campaigns with as much fanfare as possible. In the case of the Ocean Cleanup, the story was even picked up by news outlets, giving the nonprofit even more exposure.
- State how far each donation will go. The Ocean Cleanup stated that each purchase would clean 24 football fields worth of ocean.
- Leverage the power of before and after (i.e. showing a garbage-filled ocean vs a cleaned-up ocean).
4. PETA and Starbucks USA
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is one of the many organizations that fight for the freedom and humane treatment of animals. In 2019, it purchased the minimum number of shares in Starbucks so it could submit shareholder resolutions and speak at Starbucks annual meetings, where it pushed the company to stop charging extra for almond, oat, coconut, or soy milk — a move which PETA deems as punishing those who want to consume non-dairy milk.
But PETA did stop there— they launched a social media campaign so they could urge their supporters to push Starbucks to drop the extra charge.
In the campaigns, it urged its supporters to call, text, email, or write on Starbucks’ social media pages to drop the surcharge. And if fans wanted, they could contact PETA for free posters, leaflets, and stickers and then occupy a Starbucks for a few hours to spread the message.
- If you want your supporters to help you with your cause, give them as much support as you can (free posters, numbers to call, etc.).
- Post your campaign on as many channels as you can and don’t stop pushing until you get results.
- Educate people on why your campaign matters. In the case of PETA, the argument is that companies like Starbucks take milk meant for breastfeeding offspring. Plus the fact that raising animals for commercial purposes is bad for the environment.
- Engage with people who respond to the campaign.
5. The Conservation International and the Nature Is Speaking Series
Conservation International is a nonprofit focusing on the protection of nature. Their argument is simple: humans need nature, but nature doesn’t need humans. So for the sake of the human species to continue surviving, we should look after nature.
And this gave birth to their Nature Is Speaking series. Where they invited famous people to take the voice of nature. The key part about the campaign is how engaging each video is, with great visuals and a magnetic script that glues the audience. So far, the videos have amassed millions of views on platforms like YouTube and Facebook.
Some of the names who have taken part in the series include Julia Roberts, Harrison Ford, Penélope Cruz, and Liam Neeson.
- Take your time crafting a persuasive message when running your social media campaigns. The message will stick. And that may get you far more donations than you imagined.
- Keep working on your message until you find one that your audience identifies with.
6. Save the Children and the EveryLastChild Campaign
Save the Children launched the EveryLastChild campaign to bring awareness to the many children who are affected by famines, wars, disabilities, poverty, and other issues. The campaign focuses on bringing awareness to the plight of these children and doing everything possible to ensure that they have better living conditions.
What was striking about this campaign was that it focused on telling stories in detail.
One such story is of Selim, a 12-year-old boy living on the streets in Bangladesh. The video takes you into the dangers the boy goes through every single day, from sleeping on newspapers to how the police wake him up at night with sticks. He explains how he has to sleep with other boys so he doesn’t get abducted to the Indian border. It’s hard to not sympathize and reach for your wallet after watching the video.
- Go deep into the story, showing the suffering. This is how you get people to get emotionally invested in the cause.
- Share the stories of individuals not groups of people. Show their faces. Let your donors feel the pain. Video is most effective at this.
7. Make-A-Wish-America and the #ShareYourEars Campaign
In 2016, Make-A-Wish-America partnered with Disney in creating the #ShareYourEars campaign. Instead of Disney just giving funds to Make-A-Wish-America, it was up to supporters to unlock the funds.
And what they had to do was simple and fun — take a picture of themselves wearing Mickey Mouse ears and share it on social media with the hashtag #ShareYourEars. Each post unlocked a $5 donation from Disney to Make-A-Wish-America for up to $2 million.
- Embrace the power of user-generated content, letting your fans take pictures and videos.
- Turn a campaign into a game so it’s fun and engaging.
- Make it easy for people or your followers to take part in the campaign (i.e. take a pic and share it on social media).
Knowing how tight funds are in most nonprofits, organic social media may be your ticket to running cost-effective campaigns while reaching many people at once. It’s free to get started, which is a huge plus if you don’t have a large budget. We hope that this post has given you some ideas on how to get started with your own social media campaigns.