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We are all familiar with it and many of use it to complain about our trivial issues, I’m referring to the hashtag #firstworldproblems.


Earlier this year, charity organisation Water is Life made it their mission to get rid of the hashtag #firstworldproblems in order to raise awareness about the real issues and challenges facing those living in developing countries.

Water is Life kicked off their campaign with an ad. featuring Haitians reading out #firstworldproblem tweets and responding to them. The clip is extremely thought provoking and unbelievably effective; one of the exerts flashes to a young boy sitting on a pile of rubble retelling one’s complaint of their leather seats not being heated, the image speaks volumes. The campaign was a great success amassing donations of over 1 million days worth of clean water.

Whilst Water is Life has successfully embedded social media into their marketing mindset, other non-for-profits have yet to grasp its full potential. Social media can hugely benefit NFPs in that it provides effective tools for communicating messages to large audiences at a low cost. Additionally, social media is a great way to influence behaviour change and can get more people giving and adopting positive behaviours e.g. donating blood. It is crucial for NFPs to get on board. 

Another NFP who has wholeheartedly embraced social media and through it reached thousands is the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD). They claim that 1 in 6 people around the globe, including 500 million children suffer from seven NTDs and so launched a campaign called End7 that aimed at eliminating these diseases by 2020.

End7 involved a YouTube video featuring celebrities watching footage of the tropical diseases and their reactions, followed by a plea for just a 50 pence donation, enough to treat one child. The idea was that many viewers get turned off by painful images and never make it to the end of ads. Seeing celebrities viewing the footage was supposed to make people want to watch whatever was causing such reactions and ultimately increase awareness and donations for the cause; and it worked.

Within a week of being launched the video received 300,000 views and generated 60,000 pounds of donations, which went to treating 120,000 children who are victims of these horrible diseases.

 Have you seen any good examples of NFPs using social media or do you have any thoughts on how social media could benefit charities?