Top 10 charity campaigns of 2010

This is an article by Petra Opelova.
You could write for Behind the Spin too. Find out how here.

See also Top 10 charity campaigns of 2014

In times of an economic crisis, charities are struggling to get the funding and notice they need to support their activities. It comes as no surprise that with the overwhelming number of charities, the need to find a cost-effective way how to catch people’s attention and convince them to donate their money for a good cause has never been higher. Let’s have a look at some charities that managed to stand out of the crowd and create awareness about their initiative though creative and engaging campaigns in 2010. So in no particular order…

1. ‘I like it on…’

Probably everyone who owns a Facebook account has heard of this one. In 2009, Breast Cancer Awareness set off their unique, purely Facebook-based campaign where girls were invited to post the colour of their bra to their wall while confusing their male friends. As the campaign was a huge success and gained coverage not only all over the internet but also in print media, Breast Cancer decided to repeat the success in with another campaign in October 2010.

This time, the status update stated: ‘I like it on…’ plus location where girls keep their handbags. The obvious sexual connotation helped to catch attention of a vast audience and exceeded Breast Cancer’s expectations by creating millions of status updates worldwide.

Breast Cancer Awareness has proved that even without big budget you can create an innovative campaign that reaches out to many people. All you need is creativity.

2. TwitChange

Hands up, who wouldn’t like to be followed by his favourite celebrity on Twitter? No hands? Well, that’s exactly what this campaign led by influential actress Eva Longoria hopes for.

TwitChange represents the only global celebrity auction, where you can bid to get retweeted, followed, or mentioned by a celebrity of your choice, or all those things at once. The money from this unique auction goes to a chosen charity.

Last year TwitChange managed to raise around $500,000 and together with AHOMEINHAITI.ORG help to provide a shelter to $1.5 million people in Haiti.  Moreover, with its 178 celebrities and 750 auctions, TwitChange got over 35 million web hits in 4 weeks. Not too bad.

3. GreenPeace Unfriend Coal

GreenPeace launched its campaign on the very network it was protesting about: Facebook. The simple yet effective idea trying to persuade Facebook to ‘unfriend coal’ together with an enjoyable video featuring Mark Zuckerberg, proved itself to be quite than successful. Over 500,000 people signed the online anti-Facebook petition and more than 330,000 of them took the time to watch the video.

4. UN’s Social Media Envoy

What do you get when you put Ray Chambers, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Malaria, Sarah Ross, the head of digital at Ashton Kutcher’s Katalyst Media, and Ashton Kutcher himself? The answer: massive social media campaign focused on the issue of malaria in Africa and reaching unbelievable 174 million people.

The idea was simple yet effective.  Fifty most influential and followed people and organizations on the social media were unified as UN’s envoys and asked to tweet various information about malaria once a month. This has caused a wave of retweets, blog posts, YouTube videos and other online coverage by ‘ordinary’ people spreading the message even further and thus helping to raise money to help those suffering with malaria.  Another example of how social media may help non-profit organizations to get noticed.

5. Movember

If you noticed an increase in the number of unshaved men wondering around the street last November and wondered what was going on, Movember is your answer.  This campaign represents global long-term initiative to raise awareness about the health problems men can face, and raise money for various charities. Every year, Movember encourages men around the world to turn their nicely shaved faces into hairy jungles for the whole November (hence the name Movember).

The last time, they managed to get more than 255,755 people on board and raise about £26 Million for The Prostate Cancer Charity (TPCC). How did they do it?  Well, one aspect may play a role is that it has given men an excuse not to shave. Apart from its clearly humorous appeal, Movember uses variety of online and offline techniques to make their efforts even more efficient. This includes development of creative posters and compelling websites featuring pictures of the best moustaches, easy online system for donations, good sponsorship base, and various events.

Moreover, Movember has gained a considerable amount of attention on social media networks where men shared the before and after pictures with their friends and spreading the message around.

6. Charity: water




Charity: water was born just three years ago when one guy somewhere in the USA decided to give up his birthday for building wells in Africa.  Since then charity: water has grown into global proportions through word of mouth, advertising on TV and in print, interesting events and exhibitions, and social media.

As they got bigger and bigger, they caught attention of a few celebrities, such as Will and Jada Smith, and tadadada: the campaign for the year 2010 was born! Will and Jada encouraged people to donate as much as they can on the charity: water webpages as the 3 top fundraisers will take a trip to Africa with them. This video was published on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and gained online coverage on Mashable and various blogs.

7. The Lazarus Effect Campaign

In 2010, (RED) joined forces with numerous celebrities to raise awareness about the power of two white pills of  antiretroviral medicine (ARVs) that can save people’s lives and costs mere 40cents.They launched their campaign by uploading videos where celebrities showed various things you can get for 40 cents and how banal and unnecessary they are compare to the medicine.

Comparison and celebrities are usually a good recipe for a successful campaign but (RED) didn’t stop just there. They developed an iPad app that allows people to watch a Lazarus Effect documentary, which was originally aired on HBO, with extra information about the life of every single person featured and how to get involved.

Plus, (RED) established a Twitter and Facebook account to not only spread the message and share success stories, but also to provide people with live-streaming of some of their events such as the premiere of “The Lazarus Effect” film in New York. This made people feel as a part of the whole thing and encouraged them to get even more involved.

8. BeatBullying: “You Can Speak Out Now”

BeatBullying is fighting against one of those things that most people can relate to: bullying. Although some people may claim that the readability of the issue made their job easier, it takes more than that to create an award-winning campaign.

When “You Can Speak Out Now” campaign was launched, BeatBullying had a very clear vision of what they wanted to achieve. The first objective was to generate enough traffic to their CyberMentors website, a 24/7 mentoring and counselling service for young people dealing with bullying. The other one was to attract the attention of media, sponsors and public and gain enough support for its initiative.

The whole campaign evolved around an eye-catching ad called You Can Speak Out Now featuring a young girl with her mouth sewed shut. This ad appeared on TV, in cinemas, billboards and posters, various publications and online sites such as YouTube, where it generated more than 220,000 views for Beatbullying’s videos.

The result? Beatbullying recorded a 700 per cent increase in the number of people interested in counselling, a 600 per cent in counselling interactions, and 230 per cent in mentoring interactions. Moreover, the number of trained cybermentors was raised by 90 per cent. All of this thanks to effective media relations, communication strategy and interesting ad. Pretty impressive, isn’t it?

9. “It Gets Better”

It all started with the suicide of a teenager who was bullied about being gay. Some people were horrified, some didn’t care, and some decided to do something about it. One of the most active ones was Dan Savage, sex columnist and gay rights activist. He decided to send a positive message via YouTube to all of those who were bullied because of their sexuality and reassure them that “It Gets Better”.

It didn’t take long for this video to go viral. Bloggers, vloggers, and famous celebrities, such as Ian Somerhalder, Kristin Cavallari, Anne Hathaway, or Barack Obama, added to it by creating their own encouraging videos, blog posts or pictures that spread all over the web. Webpages were created, Facebook and Twitter accounts established, stories shared, and donations made. Some of the videos were featured on various TV channels and mentioned in the print media.

Overall, the campaign moved hearts and minds of million people all over the world and helped those who were bullied to find strength to carry on. Sometimes a genuine message and access to internet is all you need.


10. To Mama with Love


To Mama with Love is another example showing that even a low-budget campaign can reach many people by using social media and a bit of creativity.

Epic Change dived into this campaign on Mother’s Day 2010 with one straight-forward aim: to raise money to support Mama Lucy in her efforts to educate children in Tanzania.

To achieve that, Epic Change created a virtual scrapbook or “hearspace” on their webpages and anyone who donated could customize this space by using various photos, videos and notes. They could then send this piece of art to their mothers as an e-card, or share it with friends and family via Twitter or Facebook.

Thanks to their approach and integration of social media, Epic Change managed to raise nearly $17,000 and provide a safe home for 17 children in Tanzania. Plus, they encouraged more than 300 mothers to join the initiative. Just to put it out there, this week-long campaign was managed by two people only.

As mentioned above, there are numerous charities that deserve the recognition for their efforts. If you are thinking why I have picked these 10 among all of them the answer is simple. I talked to my friends, classmates and tutors and asked them witch charity campaigns they liked and why. After all, that’s what matters, isn’t it.


  1. I was interested in your first example. I didn’t think a charity was behind these campaigns, instead it was an unofficial campaign which went viral? Although it was linked to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it wasn’t officially part of it? I might be wrong though.

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