Posts Tagged 'Social Media'

Heidi takes on fundraising with Instagram


“My #ReasontoRun is my baby James and all the steps he will never take and to raise funds for Tommy’s so they can help future babies find their feet rather than their wings.”

Coming up with creative ways to keep up the momentum of your fundraising can sometimes leave you feeling a bit stuck. But often it’s simple things done well and using every day tools such as social media which really does rally the crowds and help keep you motivated.

Meet Heidi – not only has she smashed £2000 (and still rising) in donations for Tommy’s, who research how to save babies’ lives, she has also cracked Instagram to a T.

It’s clear that Heidi really does know how to work her audience, so we got in touch to find out a bit more about her story and how she’s approached her fundraising.

1. Use hashtags to get connected

Heidi says, “It’s about finding the right hashtag to connect with others. You need to find out what others are using.”

Heidi uses #thisisforbabyjames to personalise her story and to make it easier to follow, and also uses #marathontraining and #babyloss to connect with like-minded people.

2. Take people on your journey

When Heidi shares a photo, she makes sure to share the story behind the photo. She says that you need to “find something memorable in your runs. People need to be able to imagine what was happening. They need to find emotion, feel something and get lost in it. They need to connect with people.”

3. Choose your photos with a purpose

Sometimes a photo speaks a thousand words. Finding powerful photos really help tell your story. Heidi says “pictures help you to find the words when you just don’t know heidi1what to say”. One of Heidi’s photos is her Tommy’s running vest, which is covered in 63 stars; each one represents a child who was lost whose family she has met on her journey.

4. Connect with your charity

Heidi says that tagging the charity you’re running for is a great way to keep up to date with what you’re charity is doing, which allows you to share your learning about your charity with others. This ensures you’re always creating new opportunities to fundraise.

She adds “Tagging can also be reassuring. It’s the opportunity to talk and be supported by your charity so you’re never on your own. They understand and they want to support.”

5. Share your target

Heidi says that when you share your target and your running total, “people who’ve donated get excited. It’s all about looking how far we have come – the fundraising is a team effort.”

Sharing her target was a great way for Heidi to keep everyone involved and focused on a collective goal. It’s a call to act now rather than later. She adds “It’s making everyone feel good and getting the buzz going. Everyone wants to be that person to get you over the line.”

6. Thank people

Heidi says “Share your appreciation and people will be inspired to share your story again and feel a part of your team.” Regular sharing also means you’re rarely out of sight, therefore out of mind.

7. Make your Instagram public

Heidi says “Having a public page helps to open up your fundraising to a wider network. It doesn’t matter if people don’t know you because it’s easy to be compassionate when it’s close to your heart. People want to get on board, and it’s contagious.”

8. Start posting early and post regularly

Make the most of the time you’ve got. Heidi’s been posting for 29 weeks, and the Marathon isn’t until April. She’s showcased her whole journey so far, kept everyone up to date and taken her followers on her journey with her. She’s a constant reminder to her followers of why Tommy’s is so important, and why they should donate.

9. Mix it upheidi2

We know Heidi’s journey is not just about running. It’s about support, hard work, emotions, memories, brownies and more! She’s shared stories of raffles, new things she’s learnt about Tommy’s and those very special moments with her family that make it all worth it.

10. Always link back to your fundraising

Seize every opportunity to share a link to your fundraising page and include a link to your fundraising page in social posts or emails. Don’t forget to include it in your profile like Heidi.

If you want to change your URL to make it easier to remember, just sign in and select ‘change address’.

Have you cracked social media to inspire more people to donate? Share how you did it with others @VMGiving or on Facebook

Stand out on Social

social media

One of the quickest ways to get donations for your fundraising page is by sharing it on social media. However, simply sharing your page isn’t enough. To get the most out of your social networks, have a look at our top tips to get your page to really stand out.

1. Rally your supporters

Share your page on social media and get people talking about it. Make sure to add a photo and a reason why they should care.

2. Message directly

Reach out to your supporters directly about what you’re doing, so you can talk with them rather than at them.

3. Share photos

When you share photos, make it something fun, interesting or heartfelt. Give your supporters a snapshot of what you’re doing.

4. Get the timing right

Think about when your supporters are likely to be online. You might catch them better on evenings or weekends.

5. Go live on Facebook

Film a live video on Facebook to catch your supporters reactions live – film your training, or let you supporters vote i.e. what colour you dye your hair, or your kit.

6. Follow the trends

Make the most of Twitter trends to help spread the word. You could use #motivationmonday or #randomactofkindness.

7. Follow your charity

Find out what your charity is doing to help raise awareness to your supporters; this will give another reason to donate.

8. Get your charity to endorse you

See if your charity will share or retweet your fundraising page to reach your charity’s existing supporters.

9. App it up

Play around with the apps available to track and share your progress like MapMyRun, Snapchat or Instagram.

10. Say thank you

Thank your supporters in your Facebook status, and it will not only make them feel valued, but also remind others to donate.

When fundraising meets Social Media

isl for blog


On 18 March 2014, 18-year-old Fiona Cunningham created a Facebook page asking people to take a selfie with no makeup on, post it and donate £3 to Cancer Research UK. One week later, £8 million had been raised through the #nomakeupselfie campaign which had seen celebrities such as Beyoncé, Rihanna and Cara Delevingne take part in the trend which had spread from Facebook across Instagram and Twitter.


In the month after the initally American based ice-bucket challenge was launched, there was an excess of 2.4 million ice bucket challenge-related videos posted on Facebook with a staggering 28 million people uploading, commenting on or liking ice bucket challenge-related posts. The number of uploads was even higher on Instagram with 3.7 million videos using the related hashtags, which were also used on twitter, #ALSicebucketchallenge and #icebucketchallenge.

That’s the fun part, the silly part which saw Ben Stiller nominate Rafael Nadal, Mark Zuckerberg nominate Bill Gates who then built a huge contraption in order to ice himself. However the real reason behind the ice-bucket challenge was to raise awareness and funds for the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association and thereafter its UK equivalent, the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association.

Pre-ice bucket challenge, the MND Association would receive on average £200,000 a week in donations. From 22 to 29 August, it received £2.7m – more than 13 times its usual average. And in the one month where ice-bucket challenges took over, the ALS Assocation received $98.2m – a whopping 36 times that which it received during the same period the previous year. Similar to the #nomakeupselfie campaign, this campaign was not started by the charity itself, although it was begun by two sufferers of the disease, Pete Frates and Pat Quinn.


Not every charity can expect to see Oprah and the Beckham family joining in with their social campaign, but that’s not to say that these types of campaigns are not worth attempting. They all start from somewhere and who’s to say what will catch on?

Earlier on this year, Asthma UK created their own social campaign #scarfie. Asthma UK pointed out that, durign the winter months, covering your nose and mouth with a scarf can drastically reduce the symptoms asthma sufferers encounter and so asked their followers to share a selfie where their noses and mouths were covered. Within seven days of this campaign beginning, the charity had reached more than a million people and seen an increase of 740 per cent in the number of new Facebook followers compared with a normal week and a 220 per cent increase on Twitter – even Dame Barbara Windsor joined in.

Don’t forget the hashtag

Whether you’re a charity or a fundraiser, there are lots of simple ways to start a similar campaign. The two things which tend to work on Social Media are things in which people can participate and things which are shareable.

Why not ask people to take a picture of themselves holding up a sign with their reason for donating? Or ask everyone to wear a particular colour on a particular day to raise awareness? As long as you ask people to share these images, people are bound to discover your campaign.

And don’t forget the hashtag! Hashtags are the most simple way for people to engage with a social campaign on twitter and Instagram so get creative but keep it snappy!


Charity spotlight week: Top 10 Social Media tips

francesca fb

With fresh sites and apps popping up all the time, what seems like a new online language and overwhelming stories of success, sometimes Social Media can seem a bit daunting.

Once you get started, however, these things are easier than they seem and can be a great way to reach out to new and existing donors, fundraisers and partners and to expand your knowledge.

If you start by registering on Facebook and Twitter and then following our 10 simple tips below, you’ll be well on your way to joining in with the crowds of trending, viral hashtaggers which could increase support and donations for your organisation.

1. Ronseal cover photos and logo profile photos

Make sure someone who has never heard of your organisation can get a good idea of what your focus is from your cover photo and can see your logo clearly in your profile picture.

2. Follow and Like relevant people

Search key terms, individuals and organisations related to your cause and follow them on twitter or Like them on Facebook to stay up-to-date in your sector

3. Friends and family

Ask friends and family to follow your pages and Like and share your content to help you get started

4. Stay on message

People need to get what they expect when they visit your Facebook or see your tweets so decide your area of interest and target market and stick to it

5. Use Pictures and Video

If you have a picture or video for your post then use it – these posts are always more popular

6. Be genuine

Interact online as you would in real life – it’s great to show an interest in other people’s activities too. Updates about employees in your organisation and volunteer activities help build a rapport with supporters

7. Communicate

As well as following people related to your cause, be sure to comment on, Like and share their posts in order to build relationships and establish yourself in your sector

8. Budget for Tweet/Facebook promotion

With both Twitter and Facebook you can put money behind your activities in order to reach a wider audience. This will publicise your message to more people so is an easy way spread the word

9. Make posts shareable

To encourage re-posts, create images which people will want to share. This year after the Virgin Money London Marathon, we created this post which people shared to show their friends and family they’d completed their challenge; this not only spreads your Social Media page, but also encourages friends and family to donate

10. Help is out there!

A quick search turns up plenty of free, charity specific blog posts, training, advice and social media services

#charitytuesday: #Scarfie for Asthma UK

scarfie fb

Social Media is a fantastic way for charities to reach supporters and spread their message more wisely, and if recent years have taught us anything about Social Media, there are few things more easy to share than a selfie. This formed the basis for Asthma UK‘s fantastic #Scarfie campaign.

What is it?

Did you know that cold air can trigger asthma attacks in as many as three-quarters of people with asthma? However, by wrapping a scarf loosely over your nose and mouth you will warm up the air before you breathe it in, reducing the risk of an attack. There are 5.4 million people with asthma in the UK – which works out as one in 11 of the UK population – who could potentially benefit from this information.

With the temperatures hitting low points frequently throughout 2016 so far, Asthma UK decided to run a reactive social media campaign to increase engagement with existing supporters and followers on social media as well as reaching a new audience, asking people to take and share a #Scarfie (a selfie with a scarf) on social media to spread this message and increase awareness.

Asthma UK’s idea

Although December 2015 was the warmest on record for the UK, Lindsay Gormley – director of marketing at Asthma UK – said that the charity had prepared for this campaign.

We had content ready to go and support lined up to respond quickly as soon as the temperature dipped, which allowed us to test and learn different ways of engaging with new audiences by linking with outdoor events. When a cold snap suddenly hits it can be a real challenge for people with asthma. We knew we’d need to get advice out quickly to help people with asthma cope.

How successful has it been

Within seven days of this campaign beginning, the charity had reached more than a million people – an increase of 740 per cent in the number of new Facebook followers compared with a normal week and a 220 per cent increase on Twitter – even Dame Barbara Windsor joined in!

We’ve seen more than six times the level of engagement we usually see and #Scarfie has had more than 10 million impressions so far,” Gormley said. “But most importantly, people with asthma have told us this simple tip has meant they haven’t had to stop doing the things they love because the weather is cold.”

What you can do

You can support Asthma UK by opening your own fundraising page or by making a donation today.

Top fundraising tips from Diabetes charity JDRF

JDRF, the type 1 Diabetes Charity have had a fantastic start to the year with donations and fundraising.

They had a huge team of runners in the Virgin London Marathon and have a whole host of other events coming up – including skydives, community events and treks. We asked them to share some of their top hints and tips for fundraisers:

  1. Start as early as you can. By giving yourself six months, or more you can set a stretching target.
  2. Write a fundraising plan with a target amount. Make sure you include a list of all your potential sponsors and other events that you could use to raise money.
  3. Write a blog or keep updating your fundraising page to keep everyone engaged, including photos and videos to keep it interactive. You should share these on Facebook/Twitter etc to make sure it’s seen by as many people as possible.
  4. Offer your sponsors an incentive (such as a prize for guessing your correct finishing time).
  5. Personally thank all your sponsors after you have completed your challenge, and remind those who haven’t sponsored you it’s their last chance.

Thanks to Jon Medcraft from JDRF for sharing their charity top tips, if there’s something you’ve tried that you know works really well why not share it in the comments below.

Charities on Google Plus

Charities on Google Plus

If you keep upto date with the latest news in the world of Social Media you will have heard that Google’s latest addition to their challenger to Facebook now allows businesses, organisations, brands, and charities to create their own page on the service much like on Facebook.

Google Plus Charity Circle

Sylwia Presley from Voice posted an interesting blog observing that Save the Children were one of the first UK charities to create their Google+ Page, and followed it up with a more in depth piece looking at what it means for charities on UKFundraising.

We’ve seen fundraisers using Google+ to share the link of their Virgin Money Giving fundraising page with their friends too.

The first donation to come from someone clicking a link in Google+ was back on the 8 July, just 11 days after Google first announced the service!

To add us to your circles on Google+ you’ll find Virgin Money Giving’s page here. And the charities we’ve found so far are in our Charities Circle. Let us know if your charity has joined and we’ll add you too

If your charity wants to get started you’ll find details on how to create a page at

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