Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

Trainline uses its social media channels to promote charities during coronavirus

Trainline uses its social media channels to promote charities during coronavirus

Train and coach app Trainline is putting its social media channels to extra use during the coronavirus period by highlighting the work of charities.

With rail and coach journeys at minimal levels during the coronavirus lockdown period, Trainline’s social team don’t have as many passenger enquiries or updates to handle. But it does still have an audience of users, skilled staff and a clear desire to make the most of this opportunity.

So the company has started highlighting a different charity each day on its Twitter (53,600+ followers) and Facebook (295,000 followers) accounts.



National Emergency Trust Coronavirus appeal

It started this approach on 9 April when it announced that it was supporting the National Emergency Trust’s Coronavirus Appeal.


On 24 April it followed this up by a whole thread on the appeal and some of the organisations that were benefiting from it:


It isn’t just announcing charity names and sums awarded: it is explaining some of the issues tackled by these charities and faced by their service users:


Individual charities

This week they stepped up their activity by highlighting individual charities, and inviting nominations from their users of other charities that they might profile.


Devon and Somerset Air Ambulance

Trainline operates nationally and in Europe, so it is attempting to profile charities operating in different parts of the UK. First up was Devon and Somerset Air Ambulance.


Each charity is the subject of a thread of messages, covering a range of different issues, and calls to action.

Trainline is even highlighting fundraising events:


They even signed off by inviting followers to tag other critical care charities across the UK with details of where they are based “so our followers know how to support them”. 


St Martin’s

The next charity to feature in Trainline’s charity spotlight is St Martins, the Norfolk homelessness charity.


Again, they published a whole thread on the work of St Martins, concluding with a request that followers tag other homelessness charities near them to highlight their work.


Here is the coverage on Facebook:

To the charities and their volunteers making sure homeless people are supported through thick and thin. Thank…

Posted by Trainline on Thursday, April 30, 2020


Why this is significant

Plenty of companies use their social channels to promote their charity partnerships, but this is the first example we’ve spotted of a company setting out to highlight a range of charities to make the most of its limited. This stands out because Trainline is:

  • dedicating a thread to each charity
  • raising the issues that a charity deals with
  • promoting one of the charity’s fundraising events
  • linking to specific areas or information on the charity’s site, not just its front page
  • inviting their followers to share and highlight other related charities in their area.

It’s a model that could of course easily be replicated by many other companies who find they don’t have quite the variety of social media updates that they normally do, but still have an audience.

Indeed, given Trainline is one of the many companies that is taking part in the Posters for the People initiative of sharing artwork with positive messaging, perhaps some of those brands will emulate Trainline’s approach.


More good corporate news

If you need some another example of a company making creative and positive use of its resources during coronavirus lockdown, here’s Boots:


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.

Get free email updates

Keep up to date with fundraising news, ideas and inspiration with a weekly or daily email. [Privacy]

* We do not share your email or personal details.
" />