Innovative fundraising campaign helps restore blind people’s sight


Friday, December 2, 2016

Sightsavers broadcast live cataract surgery on social media to kickstart its largest ever fundraising campaign.

A global issue

Cataracts are responsible for 51% of world blindness, affecting around 20 million people. Many blind people live in poverty because their disability prevents them from being able to work.

However, an operation which takes less than 20 minutes and which costs just £30 can treat cataracts and restore people’s sight.

A Million Miracles

Sightsavers launched its largest ever fundraising campaign, A Million Miracles, in 2014, which aims to raise £30m in three years. The money will be used to pay for a million operations that will restore, save and protect the eyesight of countless people. The charity also wants to increase understanding of what life is like for people around the world who are living with cataracts.

Changing lives

Winesi, a 69-year-old man from Malawi, had been blind for more than two years due to cataracts. He had never seen his grandson and he was worried that he would no longer be able to provide for his family. But following cataract surgery, his sight was restored.

For the first time ever, this surgery was broadcast live online so that people could see the importance of Sightsavers’ work.

The charity has used a range of social media tools, including YouTube and Google Hangouts, to share people’s stories and encourage donations. Sightsavers also worked with a well-known blogger to reach more people.

Expanding reach

The campaign has so far raised £15m and still has a year to go. The videos Sightsavers created helped it reach more people than ever, although this did not translate into individual donations. However, it did help the charity secure some new major corporate donors.

What next?

This campaign has encouraged Sightsavers to be braver with its fundraising efforts and to explore new communications channels. The organisation aims to continue to incorporate new technology into its fundraising campaigns to help it connect with donors and beneficiaries in new ways.

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