Social media isn’t all celebrities, selfies, and cat videos. It can change lives and inspire giving. In the past year, we have continued to see the power of social media to help companies, foundations, and charities raise awareness and achieve their goals in new, profound ways.

As the number of social media users increases worldwide, digital storytelling becomes a more and more attractive medium to share transformative ideas and innovations with a global audience. In my current role as a Communications Analyst for Social Good, I help develop strategic initiatives, platforms, and campaigns for a variety of high-profile non-profit and business clients interested in development, global health, philanthropy, education, and women and girls’ empowerment. As a result of this work, I continue to be inspired by the ways social media is being used to share ideas and plans for ending poverty, empowering women and girls, and building peace through shared understanding.

Recently, there have been a number of successful campaigns using the power of social media to meet the goals of foundations and charities around the world. Here are a few examples:  

  • The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video campaign raised $100.9 million for the ALS Association in 30 days, compared to $2.8 million during the same period in the previous year, and captured the attention of celebrities and advocates alike.
  • Since 2012, #GivingTuesday has connected charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give back.  In 2013, online giving was up 90% on #GivingTuesday compared to 2012, the average donation rose to $142.05 from #101.60 in 2012 (a 40 percent year-over-year increase), and #Giving Tuesday was tweeted out almost 700 times per minute during peak hours.
  • The online lending platform Kiva uses social media to cultivate communities between borrowers and lenders by sharing stories of how microloans have created opportunities and changed lives. Since Kiva was founded in 2005, there have been 1,286,952 Kiva lenders and $703,461,900 in microloans with a repayment rate of nearly 100 percent, according to their website and annual report.
  • UN Women’s #HeforShe Campaign has used social media in an effort to reframe gender equality as an issue that requires the full participation of men in the fight against all forms of violence and discrimination faced by women and girls. Emma Watson’s Q&A on International Women’s Day about her involvement in HeForShe was viewed over one million times on HeForShe’s official YouTube channel and nearly 300,000 men have pledged their commitment to the campaign.


With the reach and influence of social media just about anything is possible. From using social networks to help earthquake survivors and contacts connect, to using a large-scale Snapchat campaign to build awareness and tell a digital story—the possibilities are endless when you create a campaign that connects with the hearts and minds of people.

What notable campaigns would you add to this list? What organizations are inspiring you to give back or changing your view of issues?

Brooke Loughrin is a Communications Analyst in Deloitte Digital’s Pioneer Square Studio in Seattle. Serving as the first-ever U.S. Youth Observer/Delegate at the United Nations she had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help the U.S. Department of State engage youth in diplomacy and development. Follow her on Twitter at @bloughrin1