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Created by TheGivingLab team, SeeTheDifference was a pioneering UK crowdfunding site which aimed to bring transparency to giving. Find out how it started here.

Charities are often keen to find a celebrity ‘ambassador’ interested in their work and keen to use their celebrity influence to engage potential givers.

That set us thinking about the power of a celebrity tweet.

So we designed a little experiment.

We asked three kind hearted celebrities if they would tweet to their Twitter followers about a SeeTheDifference project that meant something to them. Stephen Fry chose a project to save Britain’s elm trees, wildlife presenter and adventurer Kate Humble chose libraries in Africa and Jordan (aka Katie Price) chose a project supporting blind children. All amazing projects.

We also asked Dom’s sister (Dom started SeeTheDifference) and she chose an education project in Africa. She’s not a celebrity.

Collectively, their followers totaled over 3 million people at the time.


All tweeted to their communities to encourage them to explore their projects and to consider donating.

The results were intriguing …


If he raises £800 or more for every tweet Stephen Fry must by now be eligible for UK fundraiser of the year if not all time award. Kate Humble’s community (a tiny 1% of Stephen Fry’s) were the most generous per head. The most puzzling were Katie Price’s followers, who at first glance might be seen as unengaged, but the project was ‘liked’ 1000 times in a single day spreading the word about the project far and wide and making it the most ‘social’ of all the appeals.

But all hail non-celebrity friends of Dom’s sister, a tiny 0.01% of Stephen Fry’s community who matched pound for pound the total of Stephen Fry’s gang.

What’s going on?

Strength of social connection matters. A lot

The stronger the social connection between the person asking and potential giver the more likely you are to give.

Put simply if your Mum asks you to sponsor her Race For Life you’re not likely to be saying no, if a work colleague asks you to give, you might pause but there’s still a strong likelihood and so on until you get to very loose social connections (follower on twitter) and ‘fundraiser rattling bucket at the station’.

Philippa’s friends illustrated the power of strong social connection to motivate action.

All of which makes us wonder whether celebrity power might be best used to motivate friends of the organisation to engage their friends?

If your charity wants to understand givers better or a weave a little innovation magic over your next integrated marketing campaign email us about the problem you’re trying to solve at:

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