#GivingTuesdayNI - When Good Goes Viral

On Tuesday this week Northern Ireland joined the UK for the first time as they piggybacked on the recent American phenomenon that is the “global day of giving”. The purpose of #GivingTuesdayNI is to raise awareness about the work of charities and encourage people to support them. In the UK, the event is led by Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

Despite the arguments for and against the idea, it works.

Charity donations in the UK rose 270% compared with the same day last year, according to the software provider Blackbaud. The British hashtag reached 180 million+ people globally after trending on Twitter for 11 hours.

With huge names like Ellen DeGeneres getting in on the action, it’s no wonder it was such a worldwide success:

It has been argued by some that the campaign is used too often by private companies to gain coverage for their work which essentially is about selling something, and that runs the risk of a PR backlash. This is particularly relevant for any company that links the amount of its donation to engagement:

The campaign is commended, however, for abruptly halting the mass social media conscience in the middle of the hysteria that is #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday. Giving Tuesday amasses a huge amount of traditonal media coverage and trends annually on Twitter, so it’s a great way for charities to use the media agenda for their own PR; highlighting what they do, gaining new supporters and encouraging people to give their voices to awareness raising as well as donating money.

Part of the reason it works so well is because it is less prescriptive than other charity social media campaigns, which rely on constant new content to maintain momentum. Unlike ice buckets and ‘selfies’, Giving Tuesday enables charities and their champions to be as creative as they want to be for the cause of their choice (hence the additional hashtag #unselfie).

Some organisations worked the “give a pledge” instead of donations aspect really well:

While some charities incorporated creativity to get people involved in awareness-raising:

As this was Northern Ireland’s first foray into the campaign, and as a Communicator in the Voluntary Sector myself, I thought I’d look back at some of my favourite tweets - those who utilised the campaign really well - offering people a mix of donating #TimeTalentTreasure utilising corporate partnerships, celebrity endorsements and engaging visuals as well as thanking staff and volunteers for work undertaken this year…

And of course, how could I forget our own contribution - the #ElephantInTheRoom tour talking to Belfast folk about mental health as part of our #MerryMinds Christmas Campaign and reaching over 14,000 people in just a few hours:

Did you spot any good local contributors that I missed?