Exeter Leukaemia Fund – How we made “Social” work for us…

This week’s guest blog comes from Jayne Mills and Katie Hall from Exeter Leukaemia Fund about the importance of using social media in fundraising campaigns.

“Last summer we set ourselves the challenge of placing 100 new collection boxes around the South West. As an added twist we decided to concentrate the marketing for the challenge on social media.

To start out with, myself (Katie, Community Events Fundraiser) and Jayne (Marketing & Communications Officer) created a Facebook event linked to the charity’s Facebook page, so we’d have a page to document the progress of the challenge and a perma-link for all social media posts.

The next step was to launch the event on Twitter and Facebook, generate interest with the right people and then maintain that interest over the course of several weeks.

Homeless ELFs

We created a YouTube video of two “homeless” ELF boxes who appealed for new homes and used that to some success, it didn’t exactly go viral but it did give people who were supporting us a laugh and something to share with their followers.

Our biggest breakthrough was in getting people who had agreed to take on boxes to tweet or Facebook photos of them in their new homes, name them and even decorate them. The “elves” suddenly took on personalities, one that loved being at home with the cat, one that got tattooed and pierced and many more who liked being in shops and with businesses.

PR Exposure

We managed to get some really good exposure from the challenge including an article in a major local newspaper and the opportunity to speak & distribute boxes at the local Chamber of Commerce lunch. Contacts made through the twitter side of the campaign tended to be small, local businesses, many of whom have supported us since the challenge in other events: it’s great to know that social media really can work.

Valuable Contacts

The networks and support created will hopefully stay with the charity for many years to come. An example of this already in working would be Georgie Porgie Puddings who kindly took part in the Collection Box challenge (see pic) and have since sponsored our ‘Pudding Party’ event last October. This project certainly made us aware of the importance of Social Media as a marketing tool and we will continue to build on the relationships made from this project with a bit of gentle nurturing and TLC.”