How Charities Use Social Media To Promote Their Causes

Posted Jan 5, 2012

I have been fascinated about the way that charity promotions have been put together through the use of social media. Celebrities and professional charity organizations have found creative ways to harness social media to put together events like USA Today’s #KindnessChallenge, charity:water’s Twestival, and Eva Longoria’s initiatives with TwitChange.  Social media gives these charities the ability to pull in millions of people from different cities and continents to pull in donations.  Here is a list of some of events and how they utilized social media to gain attention and convinced people to open their wallets and donate.

1. Twestival

Twestival has had four global campaigns that has raised over $1.75 million for over 275 causes.  When Twestival hosted a global festival on February 12, 2009, they worked closely with charity:water.  The events were organized with very short timescales and they raised $264,000 to build 55 wells for over 18,000 people in Ethiopia, Uganda, and India.  On March 25, 2010, Twestival arranged a global campaign across 175 cities and raised over $400,000 for education as the cause through the support of Concern Worldwide.  The funds were deployed for children in Haiti, Liberia, Malawi, and Burundi. In March 2011, Twestival went locally in 150 cities around the world.  In March 2011, events for Twestival Local had raised $565,000 for local nonprofits.  The 2011 local Twestivals took place in a local pub, a bowling alley, a trapeze studio, and even a giant yacht.

If you want to work with Twestival directly, I would go to the organization’s homepage and find a local Twestival.  If you are interested in helping a specific cause, then you can contact the Twestival representative for your city.  You can also contact Twestival founder Amanda Rose by contacting her on Twitter @amanda.

2. TwitChange

In September 2010, Eva Longoria launched an auction on as part of a charity initiative.  Bidders were trying to win an opportunity for celebrities to follow them, retweet them, or @mention them.  Over $500,000 was raised and 30 million people visited TwitChange to bid on about 200 celebrities.  The proceeds from the charity was donated to  TwitChange actually launched in August 2010 when the earthquake in Haiti happened.

3. 12For12K Challenge

12for12k is a combination of social media awareness and fund-raising.  The organization has raised over $100,000 since launching in December 2008.  12for12k’s goal was to find 1,200 people to donate $10 per month for 12 months.  12for12k offers free services to charities to reach a wider audience by using social media.  I highly recommend using 12for12k if you are a charity that needs help learning how to use social media to get the word out about your cause.

 4. Celebrities Quit Twitter For Charity

In late 2010, a large group of celebrities decided to stop tweeting and updating their Facebook Pages unless $1 million gets donated to AIDS charity organization Keep A Child Alive.  These celebrities include Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Hudson, Usher, etc.  This campaign was known as the “Digital Life Sacrifice” campaign.  Users were asked to text the first name of the celebrity that they were mourning to 90999 to donate $10 to the cause.

5. Epic Change

Epic Change is an organization that used to be known as TweetsGiving.  When they launched in 2008 they were able to raise close to $11,000 to build a classroom in Tanzania.  The school was built by Tanzanian Epic Change fellow “Mama Lucy” Kamptoni, who used to sell chickens and her own income to build a school.  Now the schools serves 300 children near her home in Arusha.

6. Kiva

Kiva is a non-profit organization that has provided over $274 million in micro-loans to people in countries that do not have access to a traditional banking system.  Kiva allows individuals to donate as little as $25 for various causes that helps individuals in different countries.  If you are a charity that is looking out for a specific individual, Kiva would be a great place to start.  Kiva utilizes social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to constantly promote their latest causes.


Above are some ideas that charities can use for promoting their own causes.  To reach a larger audience, I would reach out to some of the aforementioned organizations to see if you can reach some sort of partnership as a starting point.  If you are unable to form a partnership to promote your cause, then I would recommend using the Causes app on Facebook or contacting charity advocates on Twitter to form a strategy.  If you are all out of ideas, contact me at and I will provide you with some additional ideas.