It might not be as extreme as the Ice Bucket Challenge, or as narcissistic as the No Make-up Selfie, but a new craze is raising thousands for charity.
The campaign asks users to share their first ever Facebook profile picture, and donate €4 to Mental Health Ireland (MHI) by texting MHI to 50300.
So far, more than 12,000 people have donated via text, raising almost €50,000 for the mental health charity in the past three days.
Huge thank you to the facebookers donating €4 to us by texting MHI to 50300 as part of the First Facebook Photo trend!— Mental Health IRL (@MentalHealthIrl) January 13, 2015
Jill O’Herlihy, head of communications at MHI, said the donations first began on Tuesday and “completely took off” on Thursday and yesterday.
“I think at this stage a lot of people have done it but I’m seeing a lot of comments from people saying they didn’t know it was for Mental Health Ireland and that they’re going to donate now,” she said.
The organisation says it wants to indentify the source. “Somebody started it and we’d love to find them and thank them because it’s taken off so much. We put out a press release and a search for them on Twitter but nobody has come forward yet,” she said.
— Jerry Daly #gibo (@jerry_daly1) January 13, 2015
Though the text to donate method only works in Ireland, MHI has also had an influx of donations from abroad using Paypal.
“It’s gone viral on social media but we’re also seeing a lot of expats who are seeing it posted by their family and friends in Ireland and want to be involved and do something for a charity back home,” said Ms O’Herlihy.
The money raised will go into the charity’s Mental Health Awareness programme — they are running a Mental Health in the Community certificate in Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Dublin next month.
“We’re in the business of promoting positive mental health and awareness so this money is going to go toward training others in mental health awareness and creating bursaries. We want to train groups and communities around Ireland from both a grassroots level as well as a national level.”
To donate, go to mentalhealthireland.ie or text MHI to 50300.
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