Every year in November we see some high profile fundraising campaigns. Last week was Rememberance Sunday which is symbolised by the red poppies. Last night saw Children in Need with the very cute Pudsey Bear and of course Movember where the men grow a moustache with varying levels of success to raise money for the Prostate Cancer charity, All of these are extremely deserving of our money and they rely on the support of the public to survive.

This year I have noticed that many social media users are using ‘Twibbons’ on their profile pictures to show their support of a particular cause. A Twibbon is a small image downloaded from twibbon.com, which is placed over a profile picture to identify the cause the user is supporting. For Children in Need the image is a tiny Pudsey Bear. For Rememberance Sunday a small poppy. You get the idea.I have seen on more than one occasion where users have come under criticism for either not having the Twibbon showing at all or for showing the Twibbon beyond the time other users find acceptable.

To be honest I find Twibbons distasteful. I accept they can be a way of spreading the word about a particular cause but my problem with them is that they are free. You simply visit the Twibbon website, choose your image and download it. The cause you are promoting does not benefit financially from your Twibbons. This defeats the whole point of charity fundraising don’t you think?

Social media is a good tool for those who genuinely want to help their chosen cause. You can spread the word of your efforts very quickly. You can publish the link to your JustGiving page or details of events you are holding to support the charity. You can blog details of your preparation for the fundraising event so your supporters can share in your journey. You may even use social media platforms for your entire fundraising efforts such as Gray Collins who completed a 60 hour Tweet-a-thon in aid of the National Autistic Society. Make full use of social media to raise funds but don’t just add a Twibbon to your profile and expect the charity to benefit from this alone. They won’t.

Until twibbon.com start charging for these twibbons, I would hope that anyone who can find the time to download one can spare another minute to donate directly to their chosen cause too. Fundraising is far more than a pretty picture!