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How to help charities online this Christmas

Henry Elliss
Henry Elliss
Managing Director
7 December 2009

4160195620_0938417d8c_bLast week, we were lucky enough to be invited to attend a Twitter party at 10 Downing Street, organised by the Prime Minister’s wife Sarah Brown, to promote the “Million Mums” campaign. As the biggest Twitter-bore in Central Chiswick, I headed down to Westminster to represent Tamar at what turned out to be a great party that has been covered in loads and loads of blogs and tweets since Friday – so I’ll save you too much gushing here.

One of the key things that this innovative meet-up brought home to me was the importance of supporting charities in the age of web 2.0. With sites like Twitter and Facebook taking up more and more of our “leisure” time, and the prevalence of online shopping meaning we spend less time on the highstreet, it’s very easy to forget those who are worse off than us at Christmas (and of course throughout the rest of the year). Afterall, it’s a lot harder for charities to shake a collecting tin or place collection boxes next to check-outs when we’re all using Amazon and Sainsburys online.

Here at Tamar we work with a number of other charities, including The Prince’s Trust who we help out with social media strategy. The Prince’s Trust are a nice example of a charity who have recognised the value of online in their fund-raising, with a number of great fund-raising weapons in their arsenal, from the real-time response of Twitter to the main-stay of all charities online, a donation-friendly website. There are a number of other great charities using Twitter in particular, including RNIB,  The Dogs Trust, the Children’s Trust, Action Aid UK, UNICEF, and many more (you can find a much more comprehensive list on Econsultancy)

As regular readers will know, Tamar are dedicated to CSR – with a lot of focus on the S! Through our own TLC organisation, we’ve taken part in a variety of projects, from building new classrooms for school children in the townships of Cape Town to cleaning beaches in Cornwall. But when it comes to raising money for TLC each year, we still often have to resort to good old-fashioned fund-raising offline to get the majority of our donations.

So how else can you help to support your favourite charities online? Here’s a few ideas:

  • If you’re on Facebook, loads of charities have applications you can add to your profile to remind friends and family of the causes you support.
  • As shown above, a lot of charities are using Twitter to build up a following now. If you’re not following any, why not add a few? And if you are following already, why not give them a #CharityTuesday mention to help them get new followers too?
  • If you’ve got five minutes free, why not support a huge variety of charities with just a mouse click? Sites like One Click at a Time make it easy to donate to charities without even reaching for your wallet!
  • Visit the Just Giving website and find your favourite charity / cause – or if you don’t have a preference, pick a random person and make a donation to their cause anyway!
  • Sites like Donation4Charity and Present Aid let you buy charity-friendly gifts for friends and family.

There are lots of other ways to help – please let us know of ones we’ve missed in the comments. But whatever you do, make sure you remember charities this Christmas!

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