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When selfies aren’t selfish…

26 March 2014

It’s been hard to miss the viral media phenomenon of women (myself included) without make-up posting ‘selfies’ with the hashtag #nomakeupselfie on Facebook in the past two weeks. It’s not a campaign started by any of the cancer charities and it seems to have mutated from American novelist Laura Lippman’s posting a picture of herself on the social networking site without make-up in support of the 81-year-old actor Kim Novak, who was criticised for how she looked at the Oscars ceremony.

In my office those who have taken part have been sharing the pictures amongst themselves, admittedly taken at the end of the evening in the best light possible as first thing in the harsh morning light would be too much to countenance, and really it’s not been at all bad. No one has actually said “OMG you look awful” (at least not to my face). I donated my £3 and felt good that I’d done my bit for my fellow humans and given a small donation towards a vital cause.

It’s a pretty light-hearted way of addressing a serious issue and by raising awareness of the signs of breast cancer and vital funds for research it’s possibly one of the most successful there has been. Although you could question the long term implications for these sorts of viral fundraising campaigns particularly around potentially saturating the market and therefore proportionally lessening their impact, you cannot deny the effect it has had on the individual. It has certainly stuck in my mind and that if you ask me is the most impressive part of any campaign, guerrilla or planned.

This guerrilla campaign has so far raised £8 million which has allowed funding for ten clinical trials for Cancer Research UK. Is new media a way of fundraising that charities and fundraising directors now need to consider more seriously?

Rebecca O'Connor, Consultant

Rebecca is a Consultant in the Charities Practice.

Categories: Charities


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