Digital Genius – how to campaign online

Since working in the charity sector with such experienced and diverse fundraising and digital teams, I have been really inspired by the many fantastic ways to influence change through supporter and community engagement.  So I thought I would share some of these ideas with you and see what you think:

E mail upgrades – why is that we are so willing to help the individual sufferer and not the millions that really need our help.  There was a great article I read online once that helped explain the phenomenon (, but I think essentially it comes down to what a person genuinely feels they can help with and building that personal experience and relationship with cause.  That’s why this email campaign by Save the Children was a great way to customise that individual support, giving the receiver the option of a low and slightly higher donation. This is very effective.

save the children

Animal Webcams – one of my personal favourites is this new fad of placing a webcam in a barn, a zoo enclosure or on a famous monument to get a birds eye view and first-hand experience of the animal we are fascinated by. They are simple, cost effective and highly inspiring concepts that prove to be addictive viewing for the public.

My top 3 are:

Quizzes – these are both a fun and informative way to get the message out there, or teach people about your campaign.  Some of the most effective quizzes have been amusing, such as the idea of assigning an animal to a person’s personalist.

My top two are:

Internet things – this refers to the invention of little gadgets without the physical gadget part.  From controlling you heating from home, to remote printing, the idea is the use the internet to do things for you that you would normally have to do manually at home/work. Genius really.

Wearables – well these really the new big thing! Either for promoting knowledge, fitness or simply a brand.  By being able to wear an object like that, people feel an instant connection with an issue or aspect of their life. Its also proved a really inspiring way of educating people, such as a Tru Activist campaign about sweat shop t shirts with a t shrit vending machine luring people in – Some of the other well-known examples are:

3D printing – probably one of the biggest inventions of this decade.  3D printing has proved a phenomenon from technological use, recreational use and even scientific research and medical use.  Its possibilities seem endless but unfortunately the price tag is still very high.  One great campaign was run by World Animal Protection Netherlands with their Oliphant campaign –

Cryptocurrencies and Bit coins – something a bit beyond me, but essentially a currency made out of nothing but data. It sounds preposterous but already the value of these bitcoins and data crypts has become huge, with people exchanging the equivalent of thousands of pounds on regular basis.  I expect a time will come where paper money is simply a thing of the past.

Disconnecting – with the rapid popularity of social media and connecting with friends far and wide, people have become so connected in each other’s lives that there has been this concern that we are in naïve, antisocial bubbles.  As a result, people are turning back to the old days, where you are simply disconnected from the world around you and more involved in your community.  A really interesting app called Somebody ( has come up with the idea of sending message to your friends, but instead of your friend receiving it, someone near to them with the app receives it and is asked to communicate the message. It encourages socialising and helps up stop relying on silo conversations. Not sure I would feel comfortable with this myself, but then I’m from London when making eye contact with a stranger is simply frowned upon.

Hashtags – the trend of a hashtag can literally make or break a campaign these days. But what I have found most interesting about the top two trending campaign hashtags #nomakeupselfie and #icebucketchallenge were not the sheer amount of cash they made, but the fact they weren’t even started by the charity that received the donations. It was simply a case of a trend being hijacked by a celeb, or accidentally going viral b y a select few very keen individuals and then BOOM a huge influx of cash to the chose charity. Every charity wants to do this, but its nearly impossible to replicate that kind of success. Sometimes it really just depends on the time of day, the celeb that pick it up and how they really feel about that cause.

Clever buttons – one my favourite campaigns of this year was by Compassion in world farming who used an amusing technique in their emails to supporters.  By customising a button in an amusing way like this it can really make a difference to the opinion of the reader, especially if really putting their potential action in perspective of what it will really actually achieve for the campaign.  Honesty really is the best policy. And in this case, it just wants us to be annoying. Something anyone can do.


Mass contributions to design  – we’ve all heard of crowd surfing, and more recently corwd funding where loads of people can come together to raise funds for an issue they believe in, but have your heard of crowdsourcing creativity?  The Johnny Cash Project (  is a fantastic example of this, bringing all his online fans together to help design and album, knowing that 100% your contribution will be included in this iconic singers album cover.  A really ingenious way of cementing that support and thankfulness in fans and supporters.

Twitter – bye bye Facebook. Twitter has fast become the fuel for some campaigns and the conversations between activities, supporters and celebrities – all coming together to discuss, debate and support key issues.  It provides a space for anyone and everyone to come together to share their voice and the support of some can really prove invaluable to a campaign such as Something I must mention thought is a really successful campaign called Tweet4Elephants an initiative by The U.S Embassy and Wildlife Direct spurred a great conversation yesterday on the twitter platform where it got over 100 million impressions and close to 2.3 million tweeps participating in the conversation. The conversation lasted for close to four hours and also attracted over 20,000 tweets trending in. It truly was an epic success, no exaggeration. Read more here; By Lilian Mutegi.  I have to say my top 3 twitter accounts though just to see some funny ones:

  • Horniman Walrus “of course I’m a fan of #whalefest”
  • Orkney Library “we also have books that teach you how to read”
  • Rainforest alliance – incredible images, fun blog and top lists (not afraid to re post content)


Videos with a twist – we all see videos online all the time, but one of my favourite spins on this is videos with a message, that is not what you realised.  Two fantastic examples are by World Animal protection for the  Wildlife in Entertainment campaign, where they are actively seeking to see an end to elephants rides and tiger selfies. See what I’m taking about here along with some other great examples;

Interactive data – so yeah of course some data can be positively boring. We’ve all seen the horror that is a spreadsheet but the city taking did something brilliant with some complex data and had some great results.  Ever wondered who from Marvel really was the best superhero?  The results here are pretty conclusive if you ask me:

Social media online gadgets – there are now so many online gadget and thingymajigs that can seriously help you with anything to everything.  Here are some of my new found discoveries:

  • Vines are very engaging and so easy to make – useful if humorous and have huge viral potential
  • Medium – good simple blog that looks super professional and serious (right on brand!)
  • Timeline creates timeline images, from old to new i.e. summarising work in an area for example
  • Us vs them does incredible quizzes (inspiration for Crimestoppers campaign maybe?)
  • PIcmarkr or  Marksta – will put a watermark on the image for free
  • Pull quote – will pull quotes instantly from reports/long text for instant twitter posts etc
  • Canva – create your own infographics/graphics super simple!
  • Flipboard – allows you to aggregate news topics easy e.g. just on wildlife
  • Steller – brilliant story line app, simple images in a sequence making a story
  • Thinglink – can put links on top of images, i.e. say on top of someone’s face there is an embedded link to who they are, or fundraising links when you hover your mouse over it – genius!
  • Picfont or Type A – image + text = overall single image that is sharable e.g. a meme
  • Cinemagram – creates short fun videos
  • org – for tips on bio content – useful for professional linked in and twitter account biogs so that they come up in best searches

But the all-time favourite social media tip to you is to watch this video and know what not to do! – sh1t social media on radio” – ENJOY!  (watch 30 secs in)


So what’s my favourite online campaign?

Based on everything I’ve told you I would have to say that my favourite online campaign in one by Animals Australia about animal abuse. The digital appearance is so inspiring and emotional and its interactive aspect is hugely compelling. So huge thumbs up to whoever came up with it!

Hope you found this is interesting and even useful, so much to take in, but really worth it!


About wilsoemi

A 1st Class Biological Sciences graduate, with a Masters degree in Conservation Biology. Dedicated to nature and conservation, with over three years voluntary experience in environmental and conservation charities and NGO's. Currently working for the World Society for the Protection of Animals and volunteering for London Wildlife Trust.
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