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Being selfish is doing good

01/09/2014
©Time Magazine 09/05/2013

Social media is self-centred.

Cue riots, reasoned argument and case study evidence to the contrary from those defending social media use.  Please hold fire for a second though as I’m not attacking social media (this is a blog after all).  I’m thinking about what gets coverage, what fundraising campaigns really take off and why.

This year has seen the phenomenal financial success of the Ice bucket challenge (over $100m!) and the no make-up selfie and they both have two things in common:

  1. They are incredible social media, sharing phenomena
  2. They are all about individuals being the centre of attention (the word “selfie” is kind of suggestive here)

According to an interesting blog by Claire Slevin at Like Charity, one of the biggest drivers to social media being used for fundraising is giving avid users something they value highly… content for their Facebook page, Instagram profile or Twitter feed.

This implies that said audience is motivated by shouting about themselves, sharing what they’re doing, putting themselves out there etc etc etc, and loving the fact that charity campaigns give them another excuse to do so.  I think there’s something in this point of view; not positive, negative or judgemental but definitely observational.

It makes want to look at exactly how many people who took part in the ice-bucket challenge and plastered themselves all over social media actually donated… of those that I know personally it’s no more than 50%.  So what were they doing?

There’s a whole thesis in here on why social media users are motivated to get involved in campaigns and why it’s as popular as it is.  I’m certainly not qualified to conclude anything but I suspect that there is a lot more “me, me, me” than altruism within these social media campaigns.  When we see more selfless-ies than selfies, maybe things will change.  When campaigns that revolve around doing something because it’s the right thing to do, not because we get a moment in the digital spotlight, are as successful as the ice bucket challenge, perhaps I’ll think differently.

But then again, how will I know that it’s happening as it won’t be shared through social media?!?

Ultimately, even the motivation is inherently self-centred, who cares when this much money is being raised to support some outstanding causes?  In the short-term I can only see upsides.

In the longer term, I’m not sure what this says about our society and our ability to collectively think beyond next month’s meme.  I’m hoping that this perhaps selfish side of our psyche will remain a part of what we are and not become the mainstay the minute Google works out a way of plugging YouTube directly into our minds.  But that’s a bit deep and meaningful for a blog.

Did you take part in one of these challenges?  And, if you don’t mind sharing, why and did you donate?

Just being transparent isn’t good enough

19/06/2014

Sharing what we do with the world will have no positive effect at all if what we’re doing isn’t the right thing in the first place!

Following successive negative media headlines on charity executive pay, regular research suggesting that public trust in charities may be on a downward trajectory and general hand-wringing about what we can do as a result, I want to take issue with those who propose transparency as the answer. Read more…

Planning for Social Media Fundraising and the Stephen Sutton story

27/05/2014
Teenage Cancer Trust Stephen Sutton campaign

A few weeks ago, we wrote a blog around how difficult it is to plan and budget for social media fundraising success. We used the example of Teenage Cancer Trust and their megafundraiser Stephen Sutton who sadly died on May 14th.

A follow-up blog was promised but was delayed due to Stephen’s passing; we thought the articles and coverage that week should be about the incredible fundraising achievements. Read more…

Help! Social media fundraising doesn’t fit in my budgeting

29/04/2014

Teenage Cancer Trusts‘s number one individual fundraiser right now must be terminally ill Stephen Sutton.  I received an email yesterday telling me that he had reached his £1m target and Facebook was abuzz so  I duly clicked on his Just Giving page and wow!  It was over £3m… how is this possible? Read more…

Cost ratios do not turn me on

15/04/2014

Charities are “becoming extraordinarily disconnected from their supporters  who do not understand the work they do” said Ian Theodoreson, chair of the Charity Finance Group and chief financial officer of the Church of England, last week.   That’s fighting talk, that is.

Controversial the article may be but that doesn’t make it any less relevant (if not totally right IMHO).   Read more…

5 Myths of Leadership | LinkedIn http://

07/04/2014

5 Myths of Leadership | LinkedIn http://ow.ly/vuUGT Interesting thoughts from Ekaterina Walter. What about leveraging your luck?

BBC Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage in heate

03/04/2014

BBC Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage in heated BBC debate over #EU http://ow.ly/vnqTC THis issue genearting lots of views 4 a ‘non-issue’ What do we really think?

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