Last year, we witnessed the power social media has to drive ethical and charitable causes via the hugely successful Ice Bucket Challenge (IBC) campaign. The Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) successfully raised £7.1 million pounds as a result of the challenge across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. A further £500,000 was raised by MND Scotland and over $100 million for ALS Research in America. Notably, prior to the campaign the MNDA's (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) average weekly donations totalled around £200,000, £2.7 million of this being donated in the week between the 22nd and 29th of August. The vast increase in donations - and the subsequent financial impact this represents to MND suffers and their family and friends - were not the only notable accomplishments IBC achieved however. Global media coverage and social dialogue significantly raised understanding of the disease, one of the largest battles a charity of this nature can face.
The success of the IBC campaign was fundamentally reliant on the natural human impulse to engage and partake in social causes, the ever evolving human need to be a part of a global community and the viral exposure that social media facilitates.
Recently, we had the honour of attending the celebration event for the Ice Bucket Challenge hosted by the MNDA and their royal patronage Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal. The privilege was a result of the people at InterQuest taking the challenge on the road; seven buckets of ice water; 6 locations across 5 days. During this time, I discovered that several of my colleagues and friends had been personally affected by MND. The first emotion I felt from this realisation was shame for not having known this before. The event, and in partaking in several IBCs nationwide, inspired us to think more about the human need to engage with others on a personal level, to understand and support a fellow individual's challenges and what decision-makers are doing to facilitate this; this should not be a corporate drive but a human one.
The IBC is not a standalone success story in the use of social media to drive awareness and engagement amongst Not for Profit organisations. Cancer Research and Macmillan are running hugely successful campaigns such as 'Race for Life' and the 'Macmillan Coffee Morning' on social media. The exposure of these organisations are being driven by brand advocates, either partaking in an event or inspired to share awareness online. The topic of how Not for Profit brands are revolutionising their operations via social media is of key interest to us and something we will discuss in the coming weeks in 'Brand advocacy: a social aid for the digital age'.
In the private sector, there is an ever increasing drive for organisations to engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR), both internally and externally. Meanwhile at InterQuest, our focus is much less associated with corporate social responsibility but intrinsically aligned with human social responsibility. The events we hold across the country - recently: #TimetoTalk day, Christmas Jumper Day, Macmillan Coffee Morning and the Ice Bucket Challenge - are not solely or even mostly driven from the top down. All colleagues within the business are encouraged to promote any cause they are inspired by, no matter how big or small the event or where the individual fits within the company.
From a corporate perspective, the benefit of hosting these events should not be seen as an opportunity for PR exposure or the derived financial incentive of social performance but instead should be about strengthening relationships within the organisation, supporting our peers and opening discussion on the impairments we are all affected by.
At the recent 'Global Recruiter Summit 2015', diversity in the workplace was at the forefront of the programme as a critical agenda for the industry. As an industry, recruitment has a unique opportunity and a social obligation for driving the agenda and open discussion for impaired talent. Even today, sufficient consideration is not being made throughout the employment process. By removing the barriers, be they physical or digital, organisations will benefit from access to genuinely diverse talent.