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Top 6 Examples of Not For Profit Organisations Making Effective Use of Digital Technology

— by Marlin Communications

There are some Not For Profit organisations out there that are making very effective use of digital technology in order to achieve their goals.

Although non-profits are structured differently, the concepts that apply for success with digital media are the same as with any other business. The main difference is that while traditional businesses are attempting to maximise their profits and revenue, non-profit businesses are aiming to motivate and inspire. However, in either of these situations the goal is to broadcast the message to a wider audience and engage with followers.

Each nonprofit is unique and there are so many different ways that you can create a path to success with digital technology and social media. Here are some great and inspiring examples of non-profit organisations that are making the most of digital channels in order to achieve their fundraising outcomes.


The WATERisLIFE campaign is a great example of a non-profit organisation that found a popular hashtag and used it in a clever way. They used the hashtag #firstworldproblems and created a video with people in actual dire situations of need reading out these first world problems, such as “I hate when my leather seats aren’t heated.”

When you watch a video in which a man who lives in a dilapidated shack says “I hate it when my house is so big that I have to install two wireless routers,” it really puts into perspective how lucky we are in the first world. The video has over seven million views and it is a very powerful statement that highlights the living conditions of people in the third world in stark contrast to our relative wealth, emphasising the need to donate.

2. SafeNight

SafeNight is a mobile app that was created by Caravan Studios and the Safe Shelter Collaborative. It offers a secure way for domestic violence shelters and anti-trafficking service organisations to crowdsource funding for immediate shelter.

When an individual is in urgent need of a place to stay, such as when someone has escaped from a violent spouse and there is no available space at a shelter, the staff member at the domestic violence shelter can create a request for funding for a hotel room. Those who have downloaded the app receive a notification that there is an individual in need and they can immediately donate to help cover the cost of the hotel room. The donation is secure and tax-deductible. This is a great way of using an app to reach out to the community for instant donations toward a very important cause.

3. Human Rights Campaign

The Human Rights Campaign is a very impressive example of using Facebook profile photos to spread the word far and wide about a campaign. In 2015, when the Supreme Court was making a major decision about marriage equality, the Human Rights Campaign encouraged people to change their Facebook profile photo to the organisation’s logo – a red “equals” sign.

Celebrities such as Martha Stewart and Beyonce and brands such as Bud Light, HBO and Kenneth Cole used the image. Users changed their photo to demonstrate their support of marriage equality and the campaign went viral, spreading quickly across Facebook. Millions of Facebook users got involved, which led to coverage on big news organisations. It is a truly impressive example of using grassroots engagement to spread a message.

4. Greenpeace

The environmental non-profit, Greenpeace, used GPS technology to inform the public about their cause. They partnered with a team of scientists to create a live feed tracking whales with GPS technology as they migrated south through dangerous waters – where they are hunted.

The campaign was called the “Great Whale Trail” and it encouraged people to make personal fundraising pages and ask their networks for donations to support the cause and protect the whales. The campaign was a success and over 5,000 personal pages were created, raising a total of over $120,000.

5. Charity: Water

This clean water organisation used social media in a very innovative and creative way when they hosted a Google Hangout fundraiser event with several different thought leaders from all over the world. For a full 24 hours these featured speakers were available for intimate Q&A sessions of 30 minutes each. People were able to purchase a limited number of seats within the hangout and have the chance to ask any questions they wanted. It was a win-win situation as they got to pose specific questions to very innovative thinkers, while supporting a great cause.

This was a very effective method and it was successful in helping Charity: Water reach their fundraising goals of $10,000 in one day. An incredible lineup of 24 speakers got involved, including global adventurer and nomad Natalie Sisson, marketing expert Clay Hebert and author and entrepreneur Jenny Blake.

6. Social Tees Animal Rescue

This New York based animal rescue shelter used the popularity of the dating app Tinder as a way to match up their dogs with potential owners. They created Tinder profiles for the dogs and if a match swiped right they would get messages with information about how they could adopt the dog. If the Tinder match wasn’t able to adopt, they were encouraged to donate, foster a pet or volunteer to walk the dogs. The idea is that people turn to Tinder when they are looking for love and companionship – and dogs are ideal for providing unconditional love, friendship and devotion.

They started by posting 10 dog profiles and got 2,700 matches in the first week. Talk about puppy love! This is a very clever way of using an already existing social media tool in a totally new way to reach your audience.

These are just five great examples of non profit organisations using digital technology in a creative, innovative and very effective way. Digital technology and social media offer so many opportunities to reach out, connect and spread the word about your nonprofit in new and exciting ways.

Do these examples give you inspiration for your next digital campaign? If you need any assistance with your digital campaigns, feel free to have a chat!