Social media action in action- Manchester Dogs' Home

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It has become customary for us to include a case study with each edition of our newsletter. This month, though, we thought it best to draw attention to an unplanned and unmanaged campaign that highlights the positive power of social media.
On Friday 12th September, 60 dogs were killed when a fire tore through kennels at the Manchester Dogs’ Home in Harpurhey. The blaze began in the evening, well after traditional working hours had finished. There was a time when such a tragedy would have meant a lengthy media campaign with the aim of raising awareness and funds for the building, animals and individuals affected by the incident.
Not so in 2014, though. Here’s what happened, and why we can take some positives from the nightmare.
The situation
A charitable organisation, Manchester Dogs’ Home, had its premises burnt down by a fire. With an impending clean up operation that goes well beyond the bank balance of this not-for-profit, an efficient way of spreading the message is needed in order to generate the required amount of attention, and highlight the situation to as many people as possible, as swiftly as possible.
The reaction
While the Manchester Evening News had already gone to press for the day, journalism never sleeps, as they say, and within minutes an online campaign had begun giving minute-by-minute updates via the newspaper’s website, detailing the most recent information emerging from the scene of the catastrophe. A Just Giving page was also set up by the regional media giant within hours of the incident occurring. This was publicised via the paper’s Twitter and Facebook channels, in addition to the MEN’s own website.
The response
In what must be one of the fastest fund raising initiatives ever to make a real impact, the figures speak for themselves. Manchester Evening News’ online and social appeal managed to secure a staggering £1million in donations in just 24-hours, which included a generous £50,000 given by one of our own clients, Support Adoption For Pets.
Quite the achievement, it’s proof that social media has cemented itself as the fastest and most comprehensive way of reaching out to people on behalf of causes that truly matter, and marks such platforms out as essential news distribution tools.