Viral marketing can help your nonprofit raise awareness for your good cause, and it might even attract the attention of a celebrity or influencer who is passionate or cares about your mission, which could have them retweet, repost or give a shout-out in support of your group.

If you haven’t already considered trying to get your content to go viral, it’s something that you should think because it’s easier in the digital age to attract the support of movie stars, musicians and other luminaries who can bring greater visibility to your good nonprofit cause or school.

Last week, we explored celebrities and their work in social good. This week we’re going to consider how high-profile people, including stars in Hollywood, can help bring more visibility to your organization and help you go viral.

Let’s take a look at social good causes that have gone viral, and what you can try to do the same thing attracting––perhaps––the use of celebrities and also high-profile influencers in your community. Many people know of the Ice Bucket Challenge, which benefited the ALS Association. During that social phenomena, professional NFL football teams, Lebron James, Justin Bieber, and even President Obama participated by dumping cold water on their heads or donating to the charity. However, since that time, there have been other charitable causes that have been able to go viral, with and without celebrities and influencers, and the following are some of those efforts.

  • Movember FoundationOne of the best viral marketing efforts, which is brilliant and happens year after year, is for the Movember Foundation. Every year, for during November, millions of men around the world start the month cleanshaven and then spend the rest of the month growing mustaches and beards in support of men’s health. And, all of us have the chance to see great videos and social media posts, especially at the end of the month, of men with very artistic facial hair.
  • Breast Cancer Awareness: Not to be outdone, females, including celebrity women such as Serena Williams and January Jones have posted shirtless selfies of themselves on social media to support breast cancer awareness during the month of October. Shirtless selfies for women have been a more recent activity and before this era of greater gender parity, millions of women wore pink or the famous pink ribbon to raise awareness for women’s health issues, especially concerning breast cancer.


Viral marketing is an excellent opportunity for social causes to raise brand awareness, and also fundraising dollars. But, if you’re thinking about trying to go viral and hopefully attract a celebrity or influencer in the digital world, how can you do it effectively?

Let’s answer that question next.

  1. National ambition: First thing to remember is that celebrities prefer to lend their names to national causes because they are known across the country, or maybe even the world. However, if you happen to be a small organization in a place where someone famous has grown-up, this can help you attract their attention.
  2. One and done: Often, nonprofits want to have an influencer who is going to stay with them for the long-haul. While that’s a worthy goal, sometimes it’s not practical. If your group has an event or an initiative that is happening one time, this may be an easier way to get a celebrity on board with a one-off event.
  3. Pull at the heartstrings: Yes, people involved in social good want to measure impact, but it’s essential to capture peoples’ emotions. It means your storytelling has to be excellent. If you want to get great at story-telling, think about attending the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference.
  4. High sharing ability: The reality is that content that is quick, to the point, and funny, are more likely to get shared. It’s the reason why the Ice Bucket Challenge was such a phenomenon. Even if your cause is a serious one, like cancer, think about how to create content that’s short and sweet––but memorable––for going viral which will capture the collective imagination with ease and fun. It could also help you attract a celebrity.
  5. Call to action: Finally, if you’re considering trying to get your content to go viral, you have to include a call to action (CTA). Ask your supporters to donate or do something fun to raise awareness. If you have a great idea, don’t be shy of tagging a celebrity on Twitter, for instance. They might retweet and help you spread the word.

Nonprofits can and should consider viral marketing for their organization. It can help you to raise awareness for your brand, more money, and may even get a celebrity or two on board to retweet or repost to their followers, therefore growing your brand’s visibility. Finally, for more fundraising ideas for nonprofits and schools, keep us in mind.

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