Influencer marketing is increasingly playing a key role in raising awareness and funds for good causes. Charities and movements across the globe are ever more frequently utilising the reach and influence of influencers to impact people in ways traditional campaigns simply could not. We’ve had the privilege of being involved in many good cause campaigns, and it’s always refreshing knowing that the money spent is being spent well. One thing that is very important, however, is the execution of getting across that good message.

How PMYB Raised Awareness of the Great Work Done by the National Lottery

When our agency, PMYB, partnered with National Lottery Good Causes in 2018, we identified 3 missions. Firstly, to raise awareness of the projects funded by National Lottery Good Causes. Secondly, to increase award nominations from 18-25 year olds in the UK. And thirdly, to have Chromo-Influencers™ document the National Lottery Awards, an event which is aired live on BBC One.

By working with carefully selected Chromo-Influencers™ across a wide range of interest fields, we have drawn attention to the fantastic projects funded by the National Lottery. So far, we have sent over 20 macro-sized influencers along to inform people of the remarkable things that are done with the National Lottery’s funds. By adopting this approach, we helped to increase awareness of the great things the National Lottery does amongst millions of people. You can read more about it here.

In this article, we take a look at 7 good cause campaigns where influencers have helped to change lives.

1) The ‘Mind’ Mental Health Charity Campaign

Friends jogging next to the water

Mind is a mental health charity with a well-established tradition of celebrity support. Presided over by Stephen Fry, it counts such diverse personalities as Ruby Wax, Fearne Cotton and Alastair Campbell amongst its Ambassadors. However, when Mind decided to start using Digital Ambassadors, the first person they turned to was vlogger and YouTuber Zoella.

Zoe Sugg, better known as Zoella, has been open with her followers about her own battles with mental health. On her birthday in 2018, she launched a fundraising page in aid of Mind. By reaching out to the millions who follow her, Zoella managed to surpass the original £10,000 target in just 24 hours. It’s not just about fundraising, though. Zoella also encouraged her followers to share the page, meaning a huge increase in awareness of Mind’s online resources.

“I know just how isolating it can feel to experience severe anxiety. However, the overwhelming response I’ve received every time I’ve spoken out online shows just how many young people confront it every day,” she told Mind. “I am passionate about the need for everyone to feel ok to speak out. I want them to talk to friends and family about what they’re going through, to ask for help. That’s why I’m thrilled to be taking on my new role as Digital Ambassador at Mind. It’s an opportunity to raise further awareness and to work with a charity I love.”

Undoubtedly, it is a very credible cause that is helping millions of people that are suffering on a daily basis. The campaign contribution from Zoella was also heart-warming and really had a very positive impact.

2) ONE’s Poverty Prevention Campaigns

Monk helping poor kids

The ONE Campaign was founded by a number of non-profit humanitarian organisations to help fight poverty and preventable disease. It primarily operates online, working to raise awareness and apply pressure to governments and political bodies. ONE has its own significant social media presence on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The good cause campaign harnesses influencer power to further spread its message.

ONE’s ‘Poverty is Sexist’ campaign was launched to draw attention to how poverty disproportionately affects women and girls. Kicking off with an open letter signed by a number of high-profile women, ONE then got together with some of Africa’s top female artists to produce Strong Girl. This anthem of female empowerment was backed by a social media campaign where people were encouraged to post photos of themselves in the pose of ‘Rosie the Riveter’. Mobilising numerous influencers, the hashtags #WithStrongGirls, #Strengthie, and #PovertyIsSexist achieved an incredible 800,000,000 impressions in a matter of months.

ONE harnesses the power of influencers in various ways. This includes having them reach out to their followers as well as taking trips to places ONE is focusing on. ONE also makes full use of its YouTube channel, showcasing a truly diverse collection of influencers.

ONE campaign associate Malala Yousafzai is one of the many influencers helping to raise awareness for ONE. However, she also recognises the power of extending her reach through other influencers. When she visited the favelas of Brazil last year, she took a number of influencers along with her. Among them were Mexican YouTube vlogger Juanpa Zurita and French Vine and Snapchat sensation, Jérôme Jarre. Combining her own influencer credentials with others enabled her to raise awareness among many more millions.

3) Every Mother Counts

Every Mother Counts is an organisation that works towards ensuring pregnancy and childbirth are safe for every woman everywhere. Founded by Christy Turlington Burns after her own experience with complications in childbirth, this non-profit has gone from strength to strength. Christy herself was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2014.  She recently announced a collaborative swimwear collection to be released by Onia. As well as fundraising and giving out grants, Every Mother Counts creates resources to help mobilise communities to take action.

Pregnant mother in a field with her daughter

The organisation can count Liv Tyler, Amy Schumer and Pearl Jam amongst its illustrious supporters. In August 2018, influencer Lea Lou announced her pregnancy and urged her followers to help raise money for Every Mother Counts via a Go Fund Me page she’d set up.

I am aware that – as I am now expecting a baby myself – I do not have to worry about much (financially, health-wise and due to the support by my partner, family and friends) – unlike many, many other expecting women in the world without access to medical treatments, midwives or even enough food to allow their babies to grow into healthy little human beings,” she wrote on her blog. “With my birthday coming up next week, I would like to collect money for these women around the world! In my research, I have found the New York-based non-profit organisation Every Mother Counts. It runs projects in developing countries around the world to support pregnant ladies. Aid comes in the form of  well-equipped clinics, medicine, and well-educated midwives.”

4) CoppaFeel! Breast Cancer Charity

CoppaFeel! is a breast cancer awareness charity that focuses on the importance of early detection. Kristin Hallenga, one of the co-founders, was herself diagnosed late at the age of 23. She then decided to dedicate her life to warning other young women about the dangers of late diagnosis. CoppaFeel! has produced a number of high-profile campaigns, including ‘What Normal Feels Like’. This good cause campaign is aimed at normalising the sight of breasts and the language surrounding them. Women submitted pictures of their breasts, along with the words they used to describe them.  The images were then turned into advertisements to raise awareness.

Breast Cancer Awareness - Good Cause Pink ribbon

CoppaFeel! has attracted many celebrity Patrons.  This includes Dermot O’Leary, Greg James, and Fearne Cotton who curate the organisation’s annual Festifeel. They fully recognise the increasing importance of influencers when it comes to awareness raising – particularly as their target group is 18-34 year olds. They even have their own ‘Digital Boob’ Team made up of influencer ‘Boob Ninjas’, all on board to raise maximum awareness.

Giovanna Fletcher, CoppaFeel! Patron and Instagram influencer, starred in the organisation’s #GetItOffYourChest good cause campaign. They also raised more than £18,000 by trekking through Oman in 2017. She recently announced that she would be hiking across the Himalayas for the seventh Fabulous Challenge and CoppaFeel!’s 10th birthday. “25th October until 2nd November 2019, I’m going to be on a mammoth adventure in The Himalayas with CoppaFeel! and Fabulous Magazine,” she announced to her Instagram followers. “Trips like these change lives. This trek is a huge celebration of the charity’s unbelievable achievements, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it!”

5) MQ Mental Health Awareness Fund

MQ works to provide funding for scientific research, looking for breakthroughs that will further the understanding of mental health issues. Adopting a multi-disciplinary approach involving an international network of researchers, MQ has ambitious aims to improve understanding and treatment and, one day, prevent mental illness.

In 2017 MQ launched its Dare to Swear campaign, a good cause challenging people to undertake one of their dares to help raise money for MQ’s research. The organisation also harnessed the reach of a number of influencers as they pledged themselves as Celebrity Swearers. Posing for pictures in the gallery were the likes of YouTube makeup artists Pixiwoo and vloggers Sammi Maria and Niomi Smart.

“According to mental illness research charity MQ,” Sam Chapman of Pixiwoo wrote in an article for Metro, “4 in 10 people say that they feel mental illness is an inevitable part of life. That’s why I’m joining forces with MQ on the #WeSwear campaign, which hopes to raise awareness of the huge lack of understanding about the causes of mental illnesses and the best way to treat them.”

Sam had already spoken out about her anxiety on Pixiwoo’s YouTube channel, making her a natural influencer choice for MQ’s campaign.

6) Cook for Syria Campaigns

Child holding an empty plate - Good Cause Campaign

Cook for Syria is the brainchild of journalist Serena Guen and Instagram foodie influencer Clerkenwell Boy. Originally intended to be a one-off charity dinner to raise funds for UNICEF, it escalated into a global movement. People are urged to organise their own supper clubs and bake sales.  Here, they raise money for UNICEF’s children of Syria appeal via a JustGiving page. Restaurant owners and chefs are also encouraged to take part and there is a #CookForSyria Recipe Book with all profits being donated to the campaign.

It’s already apparent that influencers are becoming ever more important when it comes to raising awareness for good causes. Cook For Syria shows how they can also help get them off the ground in the first place. Clerkenwell Boy, with almost 200,000 followers on Instagram, has been named one of The Progress 1000’s most influential people in London. As an anonymous figure, he rose to prominence by eating out around the capital and documenting the dishes. Therefore, when Cook for Syria was born, the link between Clerkenwell Boy as an influencer in food circles, and the movement itself was an organic one.

“It started because I was doing some writing for Suitcase magazine who asked me to come up with a gala dinner, a charity one-off, to raise money for Syria through food – and it exploded a bit,” he told the Observer back in 2016. And it’s been exploding ever since.

7) Refuge – Domestic Violence Charity

Woman with her hands tied

Refuge is a UK based charity working to provide help for women and children suffering from domestic violence. As well as emergency accommodation refuges, they provide community outreach support and gender-based as well as culturally specific services. In partnership with Women’s Aid, they also run the Freephone National Domestic Violence Helpline, a 24/7 information and support service.

Refuge has carried out numerous awareness-raising campaigns over the years. #KnowHerName was aimed at putting faces and names to the statistic that 2 women a week are killed by a partner or ex-partner. ‘1 in 4’ was an online campaign in collaboration with Avon designed to help people spot the signs of domestic violence in those close to them. This good cause took advantage of the power of influencers to extend their reach when they teamed up with Lauren Luke, YouTube makeup influencer, for the campaign Don’t Cover it Up.

Lauren appears in a video with cuts and bruises on her face.  She proceeds to apply makeup, explaining how to cover up domestic violence injuries. It was a stunningly successful move for Refuge and was reported to have had “a significant impact”. This included an increase in both regular and one-off donations against a trend of decline. Visitors to Refuge’s website also doubled.

Writing for PR Week, the people behind the campaign acknowledged the impact of using an influencer to spearhead it: “Our big idea was Lauren Luke – a make-up artist who posts video tutorials on YouTube. Lauren’s relationship with her 455,000 young, female subscribers is very personal. ” The video to date has almost 2,800,000 views, demonstrating how effective the strategic use of just one influencer can be.

Driving the Message of your Good Cause

Brands have long been utilising the power of influencers to gain exposure and now non-profit organisations and other good causes are following suit. We can see from the cases above, this works best when the influencer is already in tune with the ethos of the organisation or movement. An influencer putting their name to a cause they have no affinity with just won’t ring true. Equally, however, when an influencer gets behind a good cause campaign they believe in, it has the power to resonate deeply with their followers. If you have a good cause you think could benefit from influencer backing, then feel free to get in touch with our friendly team here so we can help you with it.

To see another campaign our agency recently managed, check out our case study for Nikin Clothing here. What’s special about Nikin is that for every order they receive, their team plant a new tree. They’re another example of an innovative business that is having a great impact on the world.


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