This year, the total number of social media mentions about Christmas Jumper Day reached 34,653, with 40% of those mentioning Save the Children and 16% talking about donating to the charity. Among those that mentioned the charity, 30% chatted about donating, according to the report by Meltwater.
Meltwater counts a mention as any post on social media, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, blogs and forums that used the words “Christmas Jumper Day” or hashtags specific to the campaign.
Meltwater’s UK director Henry Jones says Save the Children’s campaign generated 50% more mentions about donating and fundraising when compared with other 2014 charity campaigns. This year’s Movember, for example, generated 60,853 conversations between 1 October and 28 November with 7% mentioning donating.
“Overall a great social media success story for Save the Children,” says Jones.
A Save the Children spokeswoman says all three of its main hashtags were trending on the day, proof of the engagement and awareness of the event. Some 3 million people have said they have taken part so far and while it is too early to say exactly how much was raised, the charity claims it was a “great day” and that it is on track to raise its £3.2m fundraising target, making this year’s Christmas Jumper Day the biggest yet for Save the Children.
It also seems that other charities are not trying to piggy-back on its success, with no other charities seen trending in Meltwater’s analysis. This is in contrast to campaigns such as the Ice Bucket Challenge, where MacMillan was forced to defend itself after criticism it hijacked the campaign from the Motor Neurose Disease Association.
Connecting the campaign and the cause
Vicky Browning, director at CharityComms says that 40% of people talking about Christmas Jumper Day also mentioning the charity shows that Save the Children has managed to “make a connection” between the campaign and the cause. She believes this campaign in particular works because it taps into an existing meme – wearing silly Christmas jumpers – that resonates both in terms of people’s behaviours and cultural references and traditional media activity.
“This is a trick that’s been successful for other charity fundraising campaigns, for example Dryathlon for Cancer Research UK. People are already thinking about giving up booze for January so the charity is piggy-backing on an established pattern. The same for Christmas jumpers.
“The difficulty is linking the campaign to the cause. How are Christmas jumpers related to saving children’s lives? Save the Children uses the link of ‘make the world better with a sweater’ and it seems to work.”
Taking it beyond social media
Sarah Fitzgerald, charity communications consultant from Self Communications, says charities accept that not everyone that takes part in a social media campaign will donate and that the figures suggest a high level of engagement around the cause. The social media activity was just one aspect of this campaign, with Save the Children also pushing it on TV for the first time, as well as through coporate contacts, giving it more opportunities to raise awareness and funds.
“As a sector we’re still figuring out the precise relationship between hashtag and charity mentions on social media and giving behaviour.”
Sarah Fitzgerald, charity communications consultant, Self Communications
“As a sector we’re still figuring out the precise relationship between hashtag and charity mentions on social media and actual giving behaviour. An important point is that this [the Christmas Jumper Day campaign] is not purely a social media campaign, as it works well for offline giving, such as employee fundraising. As this stage in what’s presumably a long-term campaign, they just need to stand out from the background noise on social media, which I think they could claim they did,” she adds.