TEXT ON SCREEN: July 13, 1985
ARCHIVAL (ABC, WORLD NEWS TONIGHT, 7-12-85): PETER JENNINGS: The idea is fairly simple. Entertainment for millions. Millions of dollars for the starving in Africa.
ARCHIVAL (MTV, 7-13-85 and 7-14-85): MTV PROMOTIONAL CLIP: This is what they mean by once in a lifetime
NARRATION: In the summer of 1985, rock star activists reached out to a new generation of donors, and tapped into an unprecedented global audience, the best way they knew how.
ARCHIVAL (MTV, LIVE AID CONCERT, 7-13-85): JACK NICHOLSON: Heres a truly legendary rock and roll band, please welcome The Who!
NARRATION: Live Aid ushered in a new age of philanthropy that changed the face of disaster fundraising
ARCHIVAL (MTV, WE ARE THE WORLD VIDEO,1985): SINGING: We are the World
NARRATION: and sparked the conscience of the children of the 80s.
ARCHIVAL (7-14-85): MAN: A lot of people coming here for the music, but also for a cause.
NARRATION: 30 years later, fundraising has changed dramatically.
Today, activists are hitting a new key, using social media to bring philanthropy home to younger donors. What does this new intersection of technology and activism mean for the future of philanthropy?
FELIX SALMON: If I retweet your video, is that going to make the world a better place?
ARCHIVAL (MTV, LIVE AID CONCERT, 7-13-85):ANNOUNCER: Its twelve noon in London, 7 am in Philadelphia and around the world its time for Live Aid. And now would you welcome Status Quo!JACK NICHOLSON: Please welcome the incomparable Joan Baez, thank you very much. JOAN BAEZ: This is your Woodstock and its long overdue.
NARRATION: Live Aid was the seminal music event for a new generation. The concert took place on July 13, 1985, on a stage at Londons Wembley Stadium and simultaneously, at John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia. It was billed as a global jukebox.
ARCHIVAL (ABC, WORLD NEWS TONIGHT, 7-12-85): STONE PHILLIPS: Its a musical feast to fight famine.
NARRATION: Live Aid was the brainchild of Bob Geldof, the lead singer of Irelands Boomtown Rats, who had been shocked nine months earlier by this BBC broadcast about a famine in Ethiopia affecting millions of people.
ARCHIVAL (BBC, 10-23-84): MICHAEL BUERK: Some of the very worst are packed into big sheds. It lights up a biblical famine. This place is the closest thing to hell on earth.
NARRATION: Geldofs first response was to record a Christmas single to raise funds to help the victims.
ARCHIVAL (1984): PAUL YOUNG (SINGING): Its Christmas time
NARRATION: Business journalist Felix Salmon was a 12-year-old boy in England at the time.
FELIX SALMON (SENIOR EDITOR, FUSION): It didnt occur to me that buying the single would in and of itself make the world a better place. But I remember thinking to myself, yes, we should care about this. And I think more people did care about it.
NARRATION: The song became a smash hit, made news around the world
ARCHIVAL (1984): REPORTER: Shops are selling out as fast as they are supplied.
NARRATION: And led Geldof to do more. To attract a young audience of donors, he reached out to the biggest rock stars of the day: Freddy Mercury, Phil Collins, Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, and a rising pop star who went by one name only: Madonna.
ARCHIVAL (LIVE AID CONCERT, 7-13-85): MADONNA: Holiday! Come on people, put your hands together!
NARRATION: Geldof used his power of persuasion, according to British journalist David Hepworth, who covered the event for the BBC, to see if they would headline the concert.
DAVID HEPWORTH (BBC PRESENTER, LIVE AID): They all tuned up. Do they do it for the exposure or do they do it because their hearts in the right place? You know, the truth is they do it for all these reasons. And Bob Geldof was a genius in exploiting this. He made the people who hadnt signed up to do it feel that they were – that they were being left out.
NARRATION: Geldofs passion for the project made a powerful pitch.
ARCHIVAL (NBC, 7-14-85): BOB GELDOF: Give me a dollar. And I swear to you, I swear to you, that that one dollar will translate into direct food into somebodys mouth.
NARRATION: To reach an American audience, he capitalized on the growing success of MTV just four years old in 1985 and satellite technology.
ARCHIVAL ABC, WORLD NEWS TONIGHT, (7-12-85): REPORTER: The worldwide television feed will bounce off 16 satellites, ultimately reaching 150 countries.
NARRATION: The show featured pre-taped appeals for money.
ARCHIVAL (MTV PROMO CLIP, 7-13-85 and 7-14-85): CASEY KASEM: Live Aid. Were comin together.
ARCHIVAL (MTV PROMO CLIP, 7-13-85 and 7-14-85): CORETTA SCOTT KING: Im Coretta Scott King. Martin Luther King, Jr. was deeply concerned about world hunger.
DAVID HEPWORTH: What changed with Live Aid was that charity was linked with, not with self-denial, but with, getting your wishes at the same time. You know, so it was supposedly a win-win.
ARCHIVAL (7-13-85): DAVID HEPWORTH: Were going to give you the details of exactly how you can contribute.
NARRATION: Massive numbers of people could call 800 numbers and pledge money via credit card.
ARCHIVAL (MTV, 7-14-85): LIVE AID OPERATOR: Good morning, Live Aid.
ARCHIVAL (MTV, 9-20-85): LIVE AID OPERATOR: This is Live Aid.
NARRATION: At first, the switchboard wasnt lighting up the way Geldof had hoped.
ARCHIVAL (BBC, 7-13-85): BOB GELDOF: There are people dying now so give me the money!
DAVID HEPWORTH: He felt contributions werent coming in fast enough. I was presenting at the time and I said well, all right well go to the address first and he said:
ARCHIVAL (BBC, 7-13-85): BOB GELDOF: No lets f*** the address! Lets get the numbers.
DAVID HEPWORTH: The whole world TV world froze.
NARRATION: In the end, an estimated 80 million dollars were raised. Geldof had placed a disaster at the heart of popular culture.
ARCHIVAL (MTV, LIVE AID CONCERT, 7-13885): Rock and roll!
ARCHIVAL (ABC, WORLD NEWS TONIGHT, 7-11-85): MIKE LEE: It has pioneered a new method for involving young people in trying to solve the problem of hunger in Northern Africa.
NARRATION: People rallied for a common cause, joined by a communal reverence for rock stars and linked together through cutting edge technology of the day. Thirty years later, social media has replaced music as the lingua franca of a younger generation.
ARCHIVAL (INVISIBLE CHILDREN VIDEO, 3-5-12): Right now there are more people on Facebook than there were on the planet 200 years ago
NARRATION: In 2012, filmmaker Jason Russell produced a video about children forced into a rebel army in Uganda, showing a more recent hell on earth and urged viewers to take action.
ARCHIVAL (INVISIBLE CHILDREN VIDEO, 3-5-12): This movie expires on December 31, 2012 and its only purpose is to stop the rebel group the LRA and their leader Joseph Kony.
NARRATION: The video went viral to viewers around the world, who, this time, werent using phones to call operators, but to watch videos and donate directly.
ARCHIVAL (NBC, NIGHTLY NEWS, 3-12-12): BRIAN WILLIAMS: Talk about the world wide web. One short film has now been seen be 75 million people and counting.
NARRATION: That number spiked to 100 million views in six days and raised a total of 17 million dollars. The phenomenon fed the rise of a new term to describe online philanthropy.
ARCHIVAL (ABC, 4-20-13):NEWS REPORT: Clicktivism.
ARCHIVAL (AL JAZEERA, 3-13-12):NEWS REPORT: Clicktivism.
FELIX SALMON: Its much easier than anyone had ever dreamed to get people to click on things and say, Click on this and then well catch Kony. One of the questions is, do people, having clicked, then feel like theyve done their bit and they need to do no more, or does that act just make them more invested in the cause than they would have been if they had just continued doing nothing? And maybe they are.
NARRATION: Supporters could buy a so-called action kit with tee-shirts and stickers. Salmon says theres a performance aspect that online charity provides, that helps drive participation.
FELIX SALMON: We see these things happen and we feel powerless, so what we want to do is make a visible action.
NARRATION: That came into play big time two years later with the Ice Bucket Challenge.
ARCHIVAL (8-26-14): Lets do it guys!
NARRATION: Unlike the months of planning it took to pull off the one-time Live Aid concert with just the press of a button, social media makes the whole world a stage 24-7, 365 days a year and invites everyone to join in the spectacle.
The Ice Bucket Challenge raised more than $100 million for a little-known charity dedicated to ending a rare disease, ALS.
ARCHIVAL (8-13-): MARK ZUCKERBERG: That was really cold.
NARRATION: It rivaled Live Aid in money raised and media impactat a fraction of the cost. But trying to figure out what will take off on social media is anyones guess. Nothing has come close to replicating the success of the Ice Bucket Challenge.
ARCHIVAL (12-11-14): BOB GELDOF: Im about to launch the Band-Aid Challenge
NARATION: Even Bob Geldofs 2014 plea for money to fight Ebola failed to go viral.
ARCHIVAL (12-11-14): BOB GELDOF: So guys, here it is.
STACY PALMER (EDITOR, CHRONICLE OF PHILANTHROPY): Every board member in America probably said to the non-profit executives that they serve with, Why arent we doing our own ice bucket?
NARRATION: Stacy Palmer is the Editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, and she says online giving is falling short of expectations.
STACY PALMER: Non-profits are really struggling with how to figure out whats next in the digital world and really look at their whole cultural orientation to be online and to be digital first and it doesnt come naturally.
NARRATION: But even when a video does go viral, the outcome isnt always successful. 2012 has come and gone, and Joseph Kony is still at large. The organization, Invisible Children, was criticized for taking an overly simplistic approach, and its leader, Jason Russell, had a breakdown.
ARCHIVAL (ABC, 3-17-12):NEWS REPORT: Invisible Children seem to blame Russells breakdown on the intense exposure he generated.
NARRATION: With the Ice Bucket Challenge, the ALS Association randomly found itself on the receiving end of more money than it could have imagined.
FELIX SALMON: No one had a clue whether they had any ability to deal with a big windfall. One charity sort of won the lottery. Its a bit like, you know, an individual winning the lottery. Theres no sense in which this was a remotely efficient allocation of philanthropic capital.
NARRATION: Salmon says that, even dating back to Live Aid, finding solutions to complicated problems requires not just money, but coordination among government agencies, for-profit companies and non-profit organizations.
FELIX SALMON: We do know how to make the world a better place, and we can make the world a better place. Giving is a good thing and an ethical imperative in and of itself.
ARCHIVAL (MTV, LIVE AID CONCERT, 7-13-85):DAVID BOWIE (SINGING): We could be heroes, if just for one day