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Created by TheGivingLab team, SeeTheDifference was a pioneering UK crowdfunding site which brought transparency to giving, with feedback direct from the people you helped. Find out how it started, which celebrities make you give, which stories motivated givers … and about the power of Nanas.

Sometimes unexpected events shake things up.

The Japanese tsunami of 2011 provided an opportunity for an innovation experiment. Could we deliver something that felt like real time feedback and what impact would it have on donors?

We worked with disaster mapping charity MapAction to experiment with low cost film-making to involve givers as events unfolded in the biggest news story of the year.

They launched an appeal to fund the small team they were sending out to Japan on the same day they left. Here it is:


The video was widely shared and their fundraising target was met within 5 days. Interestingly donations almost completely stopped after 7 days.

They gave their first feedback to givers within days:


They delivered a final video feedback 3 weeks later:


Donors to the MapAction project were the most satisfied of any SeeTheDifference project.

The speed of feedback astonished and delighted many donors. They had given in many cases as a response to the news they had seen and ended up feeling they had made a personal difference and it had been money well spent.

Speed matters to givers.

By contrast feedback to other givers about other projects, delivered to givers 6-12 months after donations were made was often much less impactful.

Two striking findings stood out; over 50% of feedback alerts went unread, so many givers didn’t see the fruit of their generosity (thanks to changes of email address, spam filters or disinterest).

Secondly when we surveyed people, many had simply forgotten they had given – and whilst pleased to hear back, the passage of time meant their emotional engagement was low.

Intriguingly overall 1% of SeeTheDifference givers donated 4 times or more, 1% donated 3 times, 7% donated twice and 91% donated once. Would speedier feedback have increased repeat donations? USA based Kickstarter encourage regular feedback after funding and have achieved up to 30% repeat giver rate, which looks encouraging.

Speed matters.

TheGivingLab offers innovation consulting, consumer research and digital design to help charities change and grow. Contact us:

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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.

At the heart of SeeTheDifference was a desire to harness social media for good, to inspire people to share great charity content, engage others and of course to give. The team created heaps of content. But we needed to know what content was social.

Here’s our …


… most shared.

Social media loves topical. It’s a buzz passing on hot, exclusive breaking news. We scored big with a project with Map Action who were helping the Japanese Tsunani relief efforts in Japan within 24 hours. The project offered insight and feedback from the ground in almost realtime. It was shared by thousands and the appeal was fully funded in a week.

… most engaged

Co-create with the audience for fun. In this great project to refurbish and recycle UK bikes to Africa we came across a passionate online cycling community and asked them to share pictures of them on biking adventures – and we added them to the film – and (as we hoped) they shared the film in social media. This meant is wasn’t a charity film anymore but ‘the film I’m in, see if you can spot my bike’. More fun for the sender and more relevant to their friends.

… most commented

We used to sit every week, head in hands thinking up smart new ideas for social media, usually coming up with ever more complex (and crazy) ideas, the maddest of which involved carving a sculpture of Kate and Will’s out of a 6 foot block of cheddar for Royal Wedding week.

Blog - bear picWe learnt simple wins. You can beat a bad pun.

We posted comedy bear pics for Animals Asia, a bear rescue charity and asked people to write captions all for the grand prize of a daily jar of honey. Bad puns poured in, honey poured out and word spread about their amazing work. We even treated the crowd to a jar of exclusive honey from Pitcairn Island.

If 90% of social media is fun between friends, is your social media fun?

We like making our friends smile (that’s why we post all those baby pics right and those damn cat photos). We share experiences and cement social bonds. Sometimes it’s cool to be topical, occasionally we get angry.

Slapping a big fat charity message about poverty into social media is kinda tricky. Try slipping this into a conversation right now ‘how was your last holiday? Oh and did you know 10,000 children are injured by landmines every month’. Hmm tricky.

That’s why we’re big fans of humour, being relevant to the audience and co-creating content with them ….and never underestimate the fun BIG BAD BEAR PUN.

If your charity wants co-create with your audience or make things a bit more fun online, drop us a line :