I have spent the past year helping a small group of strangers raise money for the NSPCC. In the wake of the Baby P tragedy, we have collectively walked, ran and bungeed, baked and bellydanced, and many other bonkers activities. OK, nothing unusual about that, except that the main people involved didn’t actually know each other, and still haven’t met in the flesh. We all met via Facebook. I only met my first fundraising friend for real this September, which was a bit like a blind date!
In November 2008 when Baby P first hit the headlines, many people were drawn to the 500+ groups on Facebook to discuss the horrific case. Some were spurred into doing something positive in his name. One such person was Louise Harvey, who founded an official fund via the NSPCC, the Baby Peter Tribute Fund , to raise money for them in Peter’s name. Her original target was £5,000.
Now a year later we are all proud to say we have raised over £26,000 with Louise, with every penny going to the NSPCC, and we still have only met a handful of times- everything has been discussed, organized and achieved through Facebook and more-recently Twitter, follow us here @babypfundnspcc
We set up a Facebook group first, followed by a Page, which allowed us to be more interactive with ‘fans’ by updating their newsfeed. By debating the issues around Peter’s story and that of other high profile cases we raised awareness for the work of the NSPCC & ChildLine. We shared the NSPCC’s own press releases and encouraged people to donate. An amazing amount of people organised their own events from garden parties to Blue Ribbon Days, sponsored silences and so on. Corinne ran the London Marathon, I did the Big Bike Ride, the list is endless. The money kept rolling in.
We tweeted our latest totals to our growing number of followers on Twitter, and shared news stories and opinion on child protection issues. We shared our success and helped other charities, whilst also learning from some of the big boys online like the NSPCC itself and Barnardos.
The website http://www.thebabyptributefund.co.uk/ received increased traffic, mainly from Facebook links. Without Facebook and Twitter we might have raised the same amount, but I doubt in such a short space of time, and we certainly would not have been able to reach such a huge like-minded group of people, not only in the UK but across the globe; we have had donations from the States and South Africa.
Friends we have made on Facebook started a separate fund for a Memorial Garden in London for all abused children, they have so far raised a further £10,000, and the garden opens soon. Again much of this fundraising was publicised via social media, and news shared on their Facebook page and group.
Facebook has allowed us to spread the word and raise awareness in a way we could never have imagined a few years ago, and best of all; it was free to use and accessible to almost all. Ordinary people were galvanised into action and they helped us to achieve something really positive.
We are now looking at new exciting projects for 2010, to continue our work in Peter’s memory, and to continue to raise funds for the NSPCC. We are now being asked to get involved with other related projects. 1-3 children die as a result of abuse and neglect in the UK every week – that’s a shocking statistic however you look at it. The funds we have raised will go a long way in helping the NSPCC. To put this into perspective, that’s the equivalent of paying for the rigorous training and induction of around 15 volunteer counsellors. Each of these counsellors will answer calls from 200 children in their first year alone. Together, that’s about five medium-sized primary schools’ worth of children receiving essential support, and the counsellors having skills for life to support children through ChildLine.
If you would like to be part of this success please donate to the Baby Peter Tribute Fund – many thanks.