Mintel Trends has just launched a new trend called Giving Back, which looks at how people are sharing the wealth and creating their own ways to help those in need. People across the globe are looking for ways to help those less fortunate than themselves. This trend is being driven partly by a desire to help redress the growing inequality gap and partly because volunteering, donating or taking part in a charitable event can lead to a self-esteem boost for the giver.

And thanks to the ubiquity of social media, people can now share their philanthropic efforts with the world with the minimum of effort and the maximum reach. As a result, charitable endeavors are gaining support from a wider audience, especially from those who want to wear their capacity to give back as a badge of pride and revel in the ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ they receive. This is part of the appeal of the Ice Bucket Challenge. But at the same time, it’s runaway success can be attributed to the fact it’s a simple challenge to take part in – it’s open to anyone who has access to a bucket, some ice water and a camera. This is winning over those who have good intentions but are unable to donate significant amounts of time or money to causes or charities. While from the point of view of the audience, it’s an instantaneous and humorous act that viewers can enjoy watching without being made to feel guilty – an emotion often played on by charities looking to drum up support.

Looking beyond the Ice Bucket Challenge, we’ve seen a range of other charitable ventures that are raising awareness in creative and playful ways. And these are not being launched by big name brands or businesses, rather we’re seeing a grassroots trend develop as individuals use the power of social media to raise awareness about issues close to their own hearts.

For instance, an altruistic initiative launched in the UK is leaving envelopes of cash around university campuses. The Twitter account Cash on Campus has been tweeting clues about where the money has been hidden and if students take a selfie with the cash they find they get the amount doubled. This was created by one man, Richard Booth who works with young people in education and wanted to do something to help students struggling with their finances make ends meet. With digital connectivity, people no longer need to be part of a bigger organization or backed by a big brand to have an impact.

Catherine Cottney works as a Senior Trends Analyst specialising in detecting trends, innovation and consumer behaviour from across the globe. She currently writes content for the site specialising in Inspire’s lifestyle trends and manages the team of contributors in the Asia-Pacific region.