Fundraising for charities is a noble thing to do and should always be applauded. Hundreds of committees and groups spend countless hours trying to organize successful fundraisers to help their cause and excite the community around them. Over the past decade – and really, it’s all thanks to the Internet! – there have been a couple of standout fundraising efforts that captured the world’s attention. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the most successful viral fundraising campaigns of all time.
Ice Bucket Challenge
This campaign wasn’t always a crowd favorite. At first there was some backlash about the viral-ness of the campaign that challenged others to either donate to ALS research or pour a bucket of ice water over their heads. While many thought that the challenge was seen as more of a social fad and an excuse not to donate to charity, the ALS Foundation ended up raising nearly $100 million dollars from the highly successful campaign. The mixture of a fun yet humiliating challenge and raising awareness for a difficult disease was a perfect match, and this viral campaign proved to be powerful – and certainly more than just a bucket of ice.
Men’s Health Magazine started the Movember movement in 2003, where the month of November is dedicated to men’s health issues. The concept behind this viral campaign is pretty simple and happens to be one of the campaign’s slogans: “let it grow.” To help spread awareness of men’s health issues, men are encouraged to let their mustaches or beards grow for a full 30 days without shaving. The successful movement has raised over $559 million, and while watching guys struggle with their facial hair is comical, that number is nothing to laugh at!
Human Rights Campaign
Facebook can be a difficult platform to conquer. The people behind the Human Rights Campaign, however, took Facebook by storm with their viral profile picture project. March 25th of 2013 was the official start date of this movement and gave Facebook users the chance to show their support for the Defense of Marriage Act within California’s Proposition 8, by replacing their profile picture with a red square that had a pink equal sign in the center. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this movement certainly used that to their advantage. This small gesture went viral almost instantly, with over 10 million people worldwide interacting with the image only within weeks of its introduction.
Social media sites like Instagram and Snapchat saw a new trend in 2014 that had celebrities and blue collar folks alike sharing selfies with the hashtag #NoMakeUpSelfie. The idea behind these fresh-faced images was to show support for those battling cancer and to raise awareness for cancer research. In only months, the campaign successfully raised millions of dollars in both the U.S. and Britain.
In one of the most heartwarming viral campaigns of all time, the Make-A-Wish Foundation set out to make one young boy’s dreams come true in 2013. News spread quickly that 5-year-old leukemia survivor, Miles Scott, wanted nothing more than to save a damsel in distress and fight crime in Gotham City (in reality, San Francisco) as Batman – and that’s exactly what he got to do. As the hashtag #SFBatkid spread quickly online, thousands of San Fran citizens flocked to the streets to show support for Batkid’s battle against The Riddler, The Penguin, all while fighting alongside Batman himself. Even then President Obama congratulated Batkid on his bravery. Sometimes it’s not about the money, but the support that makes these campaigns so successful, and this clearly was the case with this little hero.