Charities putting kindness at the heart of campaigns

  • Charities are increasingly asking donors for more than just money
  • Awareness days such as Giving Tuesday and #MakeSomeonesDay are being used to promote the importance of kindness
  • The success of these campaigns can provide inspirational ideas for organisations looking to launch similar initiatives

For many people, ‘doing their bit for charity’ is a simple case of setting up a standing order or putting some spare change into a collection tin.

Of course, monetary donations such as these are always gratefully received, but many charities are also starting to ask their donors for something different. Instead of just asking for financial gifts, they have been encouraging people to donate acts of kindness.

Whether it is passing on beloved old clothes or toys to those less fortunate, sending used Christmas cards to be recycled into new ones, or carrying out an everyday gesture of goodwill, acts of kindness can foster a real sense of purpose – bringing donors and benefactors closer together.

Over the past few years, there have been many innovative and inspiring kindness campaigns. Here, we take a closer look at some examples.

The Bike Project

The Bike Project is a small, London-based charity that refurbishes donated bicycles and distributes them to asylum seekers and refugees. Since its creation in 2013, it has given out more than 4,000 bikes.

For Giving Tuesday in 2018, the charity provided its beneficiaries with a little extra. Marketing Manager Anna Chapman explains: “We decided to join in with Giving Tuesday in a different way this year. Rather than asking for donations, we encouraged people to write seasonal cards that could be handed out with our bikes.

“We felt that sharing personal messages of welcome would enable our supporters to better connect with our beneficiaries. A lot of the work we do is about community, and a simple act of kindness can mean a lot to the people we support.”

The campaign was a huge success. “We were delighted with the response we received,” says Anna. “We put the call out via our social media channels using an eye-catching image. Lots of people got in touch saying they were going to take part, and it created a real buzz online. We plan to give out [the greeting cards] with our bikes at upcoming bike donation sessions.”

Women in Prison

In 2017, the charity Women in Prison asked people to send in the front page of their used Christmas cards. The idea was that prisoners could recycle these into cards and decorations for children in the run-up to Christmas.

A call-out on Twitter went viral, and was even retweeted by Hollywood stars Cher and Bette Midler. As a result, Women in Prison received more than 5,000 cards. “People included lovely messages of support alongside the cards,” said a spokesperson for the charity. “It was a highly inspiring and warming experience.”

In fact, so popular was the campaign, that the charity had enough cards left over to distribute this Christmas. So, instead of asking for more, it is asking people to donate the postage they would have spent on sending them. To facilitate this, it has created an online platform.

Kindness campaigns

Numerous other campaigns have focused on spreading kindness. If your organisation is looking to launch a similar initiative, these may provide you with some ideas:

  • On St Andrew’s Day 2018, the people of Scotland were encouraged to perform an act of kindness for someone. The hashtag #MakeSomeonesDay was filled with examples of people putting their kindness into action. The campaign toolkit features ideas for charities, community groups and businesses
  • Action on Happiness releases a kindness calendar each month
  • The Eden Project published a list of 10 acts to “keep your community trading in kindness all year”
  • Many foodbanks or local charities run reverse advent calendars
  • In 2018, Wrap Up London received around 34,000 men’s, women’s and children’s coats during a three-day collection at train and tube stations in the capital. Wrap Up collections also happened in Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow
  • Among the thousands of requests for time and money donations on Giving Tuesday, there were a number of charities encouraging acts of kindness. We have collected some examples in this Twitter Moment
  • Other charities putting kindness at the heart of their campaigns include the British Red Cross, whose Power of Kindness campaign featured a video about loneliness, and the RSPCA, which recently launched an appeal, Delivering Kindness at Christmas