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British Gas raises £10k for Shelter in Twitter hashtag campaign

British Gas raises £10k for Shelter in Twitter hashtag campaign

British Gas plc last night used a Twitter hashtag campaign to raise £10,000 for housing charity Shelter.

The campaign followed the news that British Gas staff had helped raise £1 million for Shelter. On 25 November the company announced that, to mark this achievement, it would donate £1 for each person who tweeted a particular hashtag.

It went a little further than other company Twitter campaigns, however, in that you had to watch a short video showcasing just some of the staff who had helped raise funds. Hidden amongst the rapid series of faces was Wilbur the British Gas penguin holding a sign on which the mystery hashtag was displayed. The answer was #TweetForShelter.

Of course, once the hashtag started appearing it meant other people didn’t have to watch the video.



The campaign began at 11am on 24 November, but clearly took some time to become established. By 3.30pm on 27 November it had raised £1,500. As a result, British Gas extended its duration into next month, although that was the conclusion of the campaign stated in the terms and conditions:



However, they didn’t need to. The campaign gained momentum yesterday evening and the total was reached at 10pm on 27 November.


Twitter hashtag fundraising campaigns

Plenty of corporate hashtag campaigns (or ‘like’ campaigns on Facebook) have raised funds for charities. In this case, the initiative was that of British Gas, but other times they have evolved from a charity’s suggestion.

Some work remarkably well. The Aviva UK campaign for Railway Children went far beyond its original £10,000 target, raising £97,774 in just 24 hours in February 2013.

British Gas was careful to publish and link to the terms and conditions of its campaign in its main campaign tweet.


Update 30 November 2015

British Gas has now doubled the value of its donation to £20,000. Some people criticised the company for donating what they argued was a small sum when compared to its annual profits.


By referencing the number of people who tweeted the hashtag, the company is no doubt implying that it has even gone beyond the amount it could have donated, based on the number of hashtag tweets.




Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of Research massive growth in giving.

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