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Charities using their social media voice to address big social issues

29 July 2022

As a society we are facing a wide range of challenges right now. Challenges that include everything from the cost of living and energy crises to health and housing emergencies, and the refugee crisis, all while dealing with the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. For charities this means there is an opportunity to use their voice across all their platforms in a way that helps people make sense of the big issues they are facing and push for change at the same time.

Here are just a few great examples of charities using their social media voice to lead the charge and push for change:

Shelter – talking about the housing emergency (TikTok)

If you’ve stumbled across Shelter’s TikTok lately you will no doubt have become as obsessed with it as us. They break down the stats in a way that makes the numbers easier to understand – 60,000 families in England living in temporary accommodation right now equals every single seat in Arsenal stadium being representative of one family for example. And they call out government when it makes vague promises in a clear, concise way that helps the public make sense of what they see in the news and the true impact of it. True to their mission and values this is a great use of a social platform to highlight big issues and empower audiences to be part of driving real change too.

@sheltercharity

Temporary accommodation? It’s not a home. At its best, it’s a roof. At its worst, it’s a cramped, cold room that a whole family has to sleep, eat, and do school work in. People need homes. #housing #housingrights #homelessness #activism #PRS #housingcrisis

♬ You – Petit Biscuit

To find out more about Shelter’s work on TikTok check out their Things we learned from using TikTok in our fight to tackle the housing emergency blog.

YoungMinds – holding government to their promises around mental health (Twitter)

Just last week YoungMinds launched their #EndTheWait campaign supported by a string of Twitter action. It is a perfect example of how YoungMinds are using their voice on social platforms to engage and mobilise their audience. Highlighting that while there are lots of changes happening in Government right now they took the opportunity to remind the public that ‘what hasn’t changed is our fight to end the mental health crisis for young people’. It was a public call for politicians to keep their promises that they will “get a grip of the situation with young people’s mental health, including a recent commitment to a ten year plan” with a clear action attached, a petition that readers could attach their names to.

To find out more about YoungMinds work on Twitter check out their blog about a previous campaign they ran called #HelloYellow.

International Rescue Committee UK (IRC UK) – encouraging people to rethink how they view refugees (Instagram)

The refugee crisis has been going on for some time now but what with increased displacement as a result of the war in Ukraine and the environmental crisis it is something we all need to keep talking about. Given the importance of this issue, it is great to see IRC UK using their voice to engage and inspire Instagram audiences with clear, timely and reactive content. The posts reflect the reality of life for those that have been displaced as well as highlighting all that they can bring to their new homes and are a great way to keep the conversation going.

To find out more about the International Rescue Committee UK’s work on Instagram check out their blog about how they are making the platform work for them.

Kidney Care UK – addressing reality of the cost-of-living crisis and energy prices on patient’s home care (YouTube)

The cost-of-living crisis and soaring energy prices are undoubtedly a concern for many but how do we highlight the less visible impacts it is having on people? Patients who are running lifesaving machinery such as dialysis machines at home for example. In the case of Kidney Care UK making people understand the unseen impact of these issues led to a hard hitting campaign video that lives on their YouTube channel as part of the Priced Out of Existence campaign. The video has been edited and shared on different platforms but it is YouTube where it has really had the space to shine with the full video watchable for free to anyone who wants to know more. Plus, it’s even been shortlisted in the Best Charity Film category at the Third Sector Awards 2022.

To find out more about the Kidney Care UK’s Priced out of existence video check out their blog.

RNLI – sticking to your values and speaking out even in the face of negativity (Twitter and just launched TikTok)

We all know the RNLI have been smashing it on channels like Twitter for some time now (check out their talk at the 2021 Digital Conference for more) but did you know they have also launched a TikTok channel. Known for being bold and brave, and never shying away from their values they have remained cool, calm and collected even in the face of adversity. Their message to critics “We’re proud of the lifesaving work our volunteers do in the Channel – we make no apology for it. Those we rescue are vulnerable people in danger & distress.” – hear,hear. Now we can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next now they have joined TikTok too.

@rnli

We’ve offically launched…our tiktok channel 🙌 #fyp #tiktok #rnli

♬ original sound – rapidsongs

To find out more about how the RNLI handle social media challenges check out their fireside chat from the CharityComms 2021 Digital Conference.

For more on what charities are doing to tackle big social issues right now head on over to our social issues hub and if you have a story to add about your work then do reach out for a chat.

Banner image: Aman Pal on Unsplash

Christine Fleming

Head of digital content, CharityComms

Christine is the head of digital content at CharityComms in charge of the commissioning and editing of all content on the site as well as leading on the project management of the new look best practice guides. A former journalist with a background in online news, she has a masters in Global Media and Transnational Communications and is passionate about comms and helping charity communications thrive.