As you may or may not have heard, the teenage pop sensation Justin Bieber turned 17 this month! While his most recent publicity may be coming from his documentary-style flick, “Never Say Never” or his relationship with Disney star Selena Gomez, Justin showed this birthday that he has other things on his mind that you may not expect.
For the star’s 17th Birthday, he asked fans through various social media sites to donate $17 to a non-profit water sustainability organization called Charity Water. As the Charity Water site indicates, one in every eight people (equivalent to nearly 1 billion people worldwide) does not have access to a clean water supply. Started only four years ago, Charity Water has already raised over $20 million and funded 3,811 projects to build clean water facilities in developing countries.
Charity Water has been very unique as a non-profit organization, as they have used social media as a primary means of garnering support and donations for their cause. For example, Charity Water was the first non-profit organization to reach one million followers on Twitter. They also have a very active blog, extensive photo gallery (where you can see what the projects look like), and educational videos, all of which you can reach straight from their beautiful, crisp website.
Each person wishing to create their own campaign for donations among their friends or family members can create a profile, like the one you see above from Justin Bieber. On his site, he writes,
This year, I really want my birthday to be all about helping others. Instead of asking for gifts, I’m asking friends, family and fans to consider donating $17 for my 17th birthday to help make a change…I want to make my birthday matter this year — let’s make it so more kids can grow up to have a 17th birthday like me. Join me to make a change.
It’s really amazing to me that someone who receives so much criticism for being too young and immature for the public eye is the one behind this. Not only does Justin’s campaign show that he is aware of issues, but also demonstrates an early desire to be a responsible world citizen. For a celebrity who has over 8 million followers on Twitter and 23 million followers on Facebook, it’s hard to think of anyone else who would have as much of a reach or impact as he does.
And the results show just how impactful social media can be. In just 21 days, 2,113 people have collectively donated $46,311 (a hefty $30,000 over the original goal), and have boosted Charity Water’s total donations for 2011 to $7 million!
Justin Bieber’s Campaign on Twitter: #makeachange
Charity Water on Twitter: @charitywater