Top viral charity trends of 2014

Tis the season for end of year roundups, so here is our pick of some of the best viral charity trends which filled up our social media feeds in 2014.

| 16th Dec 14

This year was definitely the year of viral charity social media campaigns, as people jumped on board the latest crazes and shared online with their friends and followers.

Tis the season for end of year roundups, so here is our pick of some of the best viral trends which filled up our social media feeds in 2014.


The #nomakeupselfie photos raised millions for Cancer Research UK, despite the charity not having any formal involvement from the start.

However, the charity was quick to jump on board and gave people a text code, turning the organic social trend into a fundraising storm overnight.

The campaign involved many women scrubbing their faces and posting an au-natural selfie online, along with a screenshot of their donation text. Some of those taking part fell victim to autocorrect and text the word ‘BEAR’ rather than ‘BEAT.’ This sent the donation to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and people were surprised to learn they had adopted a polar bear.



Launched by the ALS Association in summer, the #IceBucketChallenge involved people tipping buckets of ice cold water over their heads for charity. Then they nominated two of their friends, who had 24 hours to tip a bucket of ice water over their own heads. In Britain, the money went to Macmillan Cancer Support and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Hoards of celebrities got involved and posted their own videos online, which gave the craze even more traction. Lady Gaga, Cara Delevingne, James Franco and Benedict Cumberbatch were just a few of the famous faces supporting the cause.

Why did it work so well? It was fun and easy to do, uniting people online as they laughed at each other getting wet. Most importantly it didn’t require any training, time, or sponsors.

The #IceBucketChallenge  raised £7 million for the Motor Neurone Disease Association by mid-September in Britain alone.


Dogselfie #Dogselfie for Manchester Dogs’ Home

Following a fire at Manchester Dogs’ Home which killed 43 dogs, the charity received over £600,000 worth of donations through a JustGiving page set up by Manchester Evening News.

The incident also provoked a massive response on social media, with people snapping ‘Dog Selfies’ and posting them online alongside screenshots of their donation to the charity.

This campaign, which gained traction in the space of just a few hours and was very short-lived, shows how quickly a viral trend can get off the ground, especially when in response to a tragedy.



Wake up#WakeUpCall

Following on from the success of the #NoMakeUpSelfie, the #WakeUpCall campaign involved celebrities posting photos of themselves having just woken up, along with a donation to Unicef.

Unicef UK Ambassador Jemima Khan launched the campaign, which saw celebs such as Claudia Winkleman and Stephen Fry jump on the bandwagon and nominate friends to publish similar pictures.

The campaign is estimated to have reached 300 million people. Money donated went to Unicef Syria Emergency Fund.


hashtagsOf course, these campaigns are just a few of the biggest trends which took over this year. There was also an abundance of lesser-known ones, including #GoWithTheFlow, which encouraged people to save water and wee in the shower, #pants2hiv, and #manupmakeup, which encouraged men to do the opposite of a #NoMakeUpSelfie and post a photo of themselves covered in makeup.

The stakes were raised yet again as the eye-popping #Cockinasock trend launched on Instagram, with men covering their privates with nothing but a sock to raise awareness for testicular cancer.

Examples like this illustrate the power that the internet and social media can have on fundraising.


Charities – take note! What will the next viral charity fundraising craze be?