The campaign was based on the idea of celebrities forsaking their social media presences until their fans contributed $1 million. In that sense it was an online version of the ‘non-event’ in which a charity announces a fictional event and donors are encouraged to make a donation instead of attending.
Celebrities who took part included Keys, Elijah Wood and Serena Williams. Hitwise Experian reports that the campaign launch on 1 December had an immediate impact: “The website saw traffic increase by 13-fold that day and was the sixth most popular charity website visited online by UK Internet users”.
Hitwise adds that social media generated 60% of all traffic coming to the Digital Death website. In addition, 38% of the sites visited after Digital Death were social media sites, topped by YouTube (15.79%) and YouTube’s mobile site (10.06%).
The campaign raised $450,000 in just six days. The charity then received a further $500,000 from a single donation from pharmaceutical billionaire Stewart Rahr. Proof that social media can be used by charities to great effect.
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