Top 10 charity tweets of 2013
2013 eh. What a year. No really, what a year. As we can’t remember what actually happened this year (I’m sure someone else can fill you in) we thought we’d share a review of the year, as told by charity tweets. Well, it’s not so much a review of the year, more a list of great charity tweets, as suggested by the good folk of Twitter. In no particular order. Based on no particular criteria. But we liked them, so hey ho, we hope you do too.
Enjoy, retweet and fave, and feel free to share your own great tweets in the comments.
1. Cancer Research UK’s Dryathlon
Everyone knows about Dryathlon now, don’t they? Back in January this year, it was a small pilot run by Cancer Research UK to get young men to give up booze for a month. The whole campaign was brilliantly executed on social media, with a perfectly pitched tone of voice and attitude, which culminated in a celebratory tweet at the end of the month long campaign.
You did it Dryathletes! Over £3,000,000 raised for @Dryathlon 2013 – you rock!! Now RT to tell the world #Dryathlon pic.twitter.com/exDdzTDL
— CRUK’s Dryathlon (@dryathlon) February 1, 2013
176 retweets and 22 faves are the sort of numbers a social media manager dreams of. But that’s not surprising as it contains great data, great visual content and a call to action to retweet (which any good social media person will tell you usually leads to more retweets). Dryathlon, we raise a (non-alcoholic) glass to you. And if you want to know how they powered the campaign (which eventually topped £4 million) on JustGiving, read their guest post on knowing your APIs from your BMI.
2. RNLI and #GraceDarling
On 7th September 2013, the RNLI Twitter account was taken over by 1838 lifeboat heroine Grace Darling, who re-told the story of her famous rescue in ‘real time’ throughout the day from 4am. Here’s just one of their great tweets:
My name is #GraceDarling. I love the sea. But the trouble with living in a lighthouse is when a storm begins to brew, there’s no escaping it
— RNLI (@RNLI) September 7, 2013
This was a really compelling way of telling the story of the charity’s history and getting supporters to connect with the cause, through the voice of a real (if historical) person. You can read the whole of Grace’s story on their Storify summary.
3. UNICEF’s Eurovision tweet
Whilst watching Eurovision this year (yes, I admit it), I was mostly enjoying the Twitter commentary on the various hashtags. In amongst the lols and incredulity I spotted a cheeky tweet from UNICEF about Bonny Tyler, who you’ll have forgotten was this year’s UK attempt at getting null points.
Didya know #eurovision singer Bonnie Tyler sang at a gig for UNICEF at London’s Astoria in 1996? #QuiteInteresting pic.twitter.com/XHWUeILkP4
— UNICEF UK (@UNICEF_uk) May 18, 2013
It can be a dangerous game to jump on a trending hashtag and promote your content (see numerous social media fails for how not to do this), but I liked this as it was a) relevant to the topic b) informal, and consistent with the general tone of eurovision tweets and c) got the charity name out there. A good template for hashtag hijacking, I’d say.
4. Asthma UK and Ryan Gosling’s inhaler
Speaking of jumping on trends, one of the most popular (and random) memes of the year was Ryan Gosling won’t eat his cereal. Asthma UK quickly reacted to the trend and posted their own Vine:
Ryan Gosling won’t take his inhaler. Naughty boy! #RyanGosling https://t.co/iOPTofnTPp
— Asthma UK (@asthmauk) May 10, 2013
I love this because it’s relevant to the trend, funny and was done quickly whilst the trend was still trending (there’s no point in tapping into a meme when it’s old news). Oh, and it’s totally relevant to their cause. Brilliant work guys, probably my fave tweet of the year full stop.
5. Macmillan Cancer Support’s Harlem shake
Memes eh. Gotta love ’em. Remember the one where nothing much happened aside from a random person dry humping the air whilst wearing some sort of headgear? And then suddenly everyone jumps around? Yeah, that. 2013 was the year of the Harlem shake.
Someone called our fundraising team in Shipley & challenged them to do the Harlem Shake. The ridiculous result is.. http://t.co/OSGHlksUc1
— Ciarán Devane (@ciarandevane) February 21, 2013
This particular meme went charity viral, spawning a fundraising competition between Macmillan Cancer Support, RNLI and Mencap to see which was the best. You can relive those glorious days on this particularly barmy Storify summary of the whole shebang. Working in social media doesn’t always feel like work, does it 😉
6. Diabetes UK thanks supporters with Vine
On the subject of Vines, 2013 was the year where we got yet another social network to play with. The six second constraint can be, not unlike Twitter’s 140 character limit, paradoxically unconstraining and allow clever charities to do things differently.
Here’s the first @vineapp video that @diabetesuk made to thank a donor #barcampnfp http://t.co/oZVsHbzvaO — Joseph Freeman (@JosephFreeman) February 21, 2013
We all know that donors love being thanked, and we don’t do it enough. So this is a great use of a new tool, being impactful as the person being thanked feels great, and will no doubt share it with their network, sharing the positive Diabetes UK brand love with even more people.
7. Refugee Action thanks big givers with Vine
In a similar vein to Diabetes UK, Refugee Action took to Vine to thank their donors supporting the Big Give Challenge. These are effectively major donors because of the donation matching, so deserve an extra dose of love. What I really like about this is the way the video doesn’t just say thanks, but talks about the difference the donations make in a very simple way.
Here’s why we need your support in today’s #tbgchallenge. Thank you Kathy! https://t.co/WswiP80jRs — Refugee Action (@RefugeeAction) December 7, 2013
8. Breast Cancer Care’s #dearbody campaign
Trying to sum up a campaign in 140 characters is tough. Doing it in a way that’s interesting and engaging is harder still. Kudos to Breast Cancer Care for their brilliantly pitched tweet about #dearbody campaign, being both intriguing, authentic and with a clear call to action.
#DearBody… ‘Not perfect. But beautifully imperfect.’ If you could write a letter to your body, what would you say? http://t.co/kCsdQP3Pfg — Breast Cancer Care (@BCCare) October 1, 2013
GirlGuiding also took to twitter this year to spread the word about their Girls Attitudes Survey, encouraging people to share their experiences on the #girlsattitudes hashtag. And the British Lung Foundation encouraged people to tweet about supporting a ban on smoking in cars by tweeting the #smokingincars. These are all great examples of encouraging your supporters to tweet on your behalf and spread your message through their networks.
9. Greenpeace’s #Iceride summary
On 15th September Greenpeace held a global demonstration in over 70 locations and 27 countries to protect the Arctic. Here’s a tweet.
48 amazing images from #IceRide – how massive was this event?! http://t.co/LBvw9UTaP4
— Greenpeace UK (@GreenpeaceUK) September 17, 2013
Storytelling around an event doesn’t get much better than this. Great pics, great event, great content. (nominated by Paul)
10. Amnesty’s London marathon pitch
Not unlike the Greenpeace example, Amnesty shared a great image of a London marathon runner the day after this year’s marathon.
Inspired by the world’s greatest marathon yesterday? Time to enter the 2014 #LondonMarathon… http://t.co/p7a42rTxNo pic.twitter.com/myTN4JunVJ — Amnesty UK (@AmnestyUK) April 22, 2013
I liked this as it was inspiring and timely: the images captures the excitement and achievement of running for Amnesty, and it was shared the day after the race, when people will have watched the race and be most warm to wanting to enter again.
(bonus tweet) By Anonymous
Strictly speaking this isn’t a tweet from a charity, but it’s a good example of how you can find support for your campaign in the strangest places.
Mozilla was central to StopWatchingUs. They’re fighting for our privacy. Give to them on #GivingTuesday here -> http://t.co/fV1ufYTFDL
— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) December 4, 2013
The infamous hacker group Anonymous, when not hacking and generally causing all sorts of online mischief, were spotted tweeted about Mozilla’s fundraising campaign. It’s not your average anonymous donor, but it sure reached a lot of people.
(bonus tweet +1) Good old Stephen Fry
Well you can’t really have a list of top tweets and *not* have a Fry-ism in there.
Please watch and share @UNICEFuk’s #noplacelikehome film to help bring Syrian children in from the cold this winter http://t.co/9CKaoNKeEY
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) December 16, 2013
Basing your social media strategy around trying to get Stephen Fry to tweet about you probably isn’t a good idea, but if you do know someone who knows someone who knows someone who was once stuck in a lift with Mr Fry, then there are few people who can reach a massive audience with one tweet.
We recently worked on a report alongside the likes of Facebook and YouTube, that shared best practice into generating great content on social media. So if you want to make our list next year, read How to create great social media content on a budget.
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