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Nonprofit Selfie Awareness

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One of the latest social media trends is sharing selfies - a picture you take (usually) of yourself. The Oxford Dictionary named "selfie" as word of the year for 2013 and this year the word was added to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. Love or hate the trend, selfies aren't going away anytime soon.

When Ellen DeGeneres took that famous selfie at the Oscar Awards last March, nonprofits sat up and noticed when it resulted in $3 million in donations from product sponsor Samsung. Since then, supporters and nonprofits have come up with some creative ways to leverage the selfie moment while it's hot. 

The #nomakeupselfie viral trend raised ₤2 million via text donations within 48 hours for Cancer Research UK. Even more extraordinary is that the organization didn't start it. When author Laura Lippman tweeted a photo of her face au naturel in response to criticism about actress Kim Novak's looks, another person added a donation link in their retweet and it snowballed from there.

 

 

The World Food Programme, SXSW, and Mastercard teamed up during the very well-attended SXSW conference with a selfie fundraising campaign:

 

 

College students Chas Barton and Dustin Locke created the Selfie Police which levies $1 "fines" per selfie. The money is donated to Vittana, a nonprofit that provides student loans in third world countries.

If you find all this a little too narcissistic for your tastes, there's the #unselfie hashtag campaign, started by Giving Tuesday, which encourages people to obscure their face with a call to action. The concept was expanded to include photos of beneficiaries during the Giving Local campaign.

 

 

According to the Pew Research Center, this is a mostly a Millennial thing with 55 percent saying that they have shared a selfie (but Gen X and Boomers are catching on). If this is a group that you want to reach, it makes sense to think about how the trend might be integrated into your communications and fundraising strategy.

For me, fundraising and communications go together like peanut butter and jelly – delicious & filling!

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