On May 22, singer Ariana Grande prepared to perform at the Manchester Arena. This concert would be nearly sold out, as were most of her previous stops along the tour. But at her concert, a suicide bomber killed 22 people, including children. Several other attendees went to the hospital with injuries. In response, Grande organized a massive concert for a fundraising campaign. The concert boasted some of the biggest names in music. Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, Oasis' Liam Gallager, Justin Bieber and Robbie Williams were just some of the A-list performers. Paul McCartney even made a video appearance to send his love. The performance was broadcast live to a half million viewers, and the turnout in Manchester seemed only more necessary after the London attacks just days ago.
Grande's spectacular rally not only represented unity and support for the city of Manchester. It represents a larger trend in social media. During the nearly four-hour concert, Grande and her team helped raise over $355,000. As of this writing, over 77 million people have viewed the livestream around the world. She's not the first to have done that either. Here are a few other major nonprofits or fundraisers that changed how we see social media usage.
OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA GAME CHANGERS FOR GIVING
In 2012, this video went viral with a singular promise -- to see the central African leader Joseph Kony of Uganda come to justice for his war crimes.
Kony remains the man behind the Lord's Resistance Army, a cult responsible for abducting more than 30,000 child soldiers and killing more than 100,000 civilians since its founding in the 1980s.
When the video surfaced, it went viral. As of this writing, over 101 million people watched the Kony2012 video created for the charity Invisible Children.
Further digging into the charity's history and financial statements drew concerns from millions around the world. Previous years' financial statements from Invisible Children showed that only 32 percent of its $8.6 million in funds actually went to services in Uganda. Skeptics questioned the simplicity of the video's message and others voiced frustrations with blaming a single person for an incredibly complex and decades-long issue.
So what actually made Kony2012 "successful"? Social media. Buzzfeed's Jonah Peretti told the Guardian in an interview that the aspirational tone resonated with millions.
"The horrific stuff is only shown very briefly. And then the video quickly transitions to inspiring things you can do to change the situation. There's this upbeat music and … an emotional high," he said.
"People care about these tragedies but they also want everyone to know they care. Sharing the Kony2012 video is a great way to tell all your friends that you are someone who cares about the world, wants to make a difference, and is participating in fighting evil personified."
Wendy's Chicken Nuggets
This particular campaign certainly did not start out as an idea for philanthropy. A high school student just wanted to know how to get free chicken nuggets for a year at his local Wendy's. Carter Wilkerson did what any boy would do -- he tweeted the company directly with a challenge. He asked how many retweets would get him nuggets for a year. Wendy's responded with 18 million -- a staggering number when compared with the most retweeted photo at the time had just over 3 million retweets.
Little did Wilkerson know that the challenge he tweeted on a whim would become something so involved. Wendy's picked up on the trending popularity, as did other companies. Wendy's used the opportunity to raise $100,000 and donate it to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. The fundraising/marketing moment was so impressive that Twitter even mentioned Wilkerson as a prime example of how companies can optimize their marketing and fundraising.
Water is Life and First World Problems
One of the biggest hashtags in recent years was #FirstWorldProblems. Any inconvenience seemed to warrant the tag, even in ironic usage. But the group Water is Life turned the phrase on its head with their First World Problems Anthem video.
The simple one minute video juxtaposes popular First World Problems against sobering realities for millions around the world.
"We were able to change the conversation through social media. Instead of complaining about #FirstWorldProblems, people began using the hashtag as a vehicle to spread Water is Life’s message and to encourage donations," a Water is Life spokesperson said. The video also successfully killed the hashtag for millions, showing that social media connectivity can provide more than an outlet for frustrations. It can truly revolutionize our world.