Posted by: Dana Kelly | April 11, 2011

Social Media Campaigns Raising Money for Japan Tsunami Relief

You don’t need to tell any PR practitioner or student that public relations doesn’t have the best reputation. Trust me, we are aware of this stigma and working hard to change public perceptions of the PR industry and eliminate stereotypes formed by Kim Cattrall’s character on Sex and the City. As we launch into an era of advanced social media, many organizations are realizing the power of creative and strategic methods for spreading their message across the internet. This trend rings especially true for recent relief efforts after the tragic earthquake and tsunami that occurred on the coast of Japan on March 11, 2001.

While aimlessly clicking away on Facebook the other day, I noticed the amount of relief efforts being formed not only in my community, but globally. Ads ranged from traditional Red Cross donation requests to more contemporary ways of donating aimed particularly at young people, including text message donations. Campaigns ranging from small to grand are being started in record times, and spreading to a record amount of people. Could this mean that social media is propelling a more positive image of PR? I believe so. I was so impressed that despite global tensions and unease that people could band together and use the internet and strategic communication skills for doing good! In fact, Zynga, a San Francisco-based company that develops browser-based games usable via Facebook and other social media sites, raised $1 million dollars in 36 hours for relief efforts. The creative campaign was created in less than 24 hours and was the highest grossing campaign in company history. Now THAT is impact, and it was all achieved via social media. Users on Zynga donate money by buying virtual products, thus enhancing their online presence and donating to a good cause, creating a symbiotic relationship.

While Zynga is setting the standard for relief donation, many other online entities are following suit. The 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan has potential to be the most expensive earthquake in history, yet CNN reported that Japan received only a quarter of the donations in the first four days that other nations typically receive in similar disasters. This shortage in donations may be made up by more strategically targeted campaigns, such as the following, suggested by Mashable, a site specializing in social media news and Internet tips. ( By banding together, we have the potential as activists and PR professionals to help out a good cause and better the reputation of the public relations industry as a whole.


  1. […] Social Media Campaigns Raising Money for Japan Tsunami Relief ( […]

  2. I think this is amazing. Yes, what happened to Japan was terrible and should not be made fun of, but this is genius! Turning helping a country in a dire situation into a funny advertisement should be applauded.

    Besides all that, I think it is positive that social media can help with a relief effort. Even if you are not in a situation to give money just letting the country and people who have loved ones there know that you, and thousands of others, care and are thinking and praying for their safety.

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