The Disasters Emergency Committee has acknowledged that social media has contributed significantly to the income it has raised for its current appeal.
In the first week of the DEC's appeal for Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, over £3 million was donated, over £1 million which was given in the first 24 hours.
BBC websites have been the most significant online referrer to the DEC donations page, but Twitter, which the DEC only started using on 2 October, was the second most important. Facebook, which the charity had previously used very little, was the third largest source of traffic.
The appeal for emergency aid for the hundreds of thousands of people affected by the earthquakes, typhoons, floods, and landslides in East Asia was championed early on by Twitter users Sarah Brown and Stephen Fry who, between them, have more than 1.5 million followers.
@Stephenfry wrote at 13:35 on 4 October: "Do see if you can find it in your heart support the DEC Disasters Appeal for Indonesia, Philippines & Vietnam - donate now at www.dec.org.uk "
@Sarahbrown10 wrote at 20:33 on 6 October: "RT @decappeal - Big international call to support #DEC disasters appeal: www.dec.org.uk Help them make a difference!"
DEC were able to take advantage of the almost instant impact of social media by opening its phone lines and website for donations on Sunday 4 October ahead of the main appeals broadcast on Tuesday 6 October.
DEC Chief Executive Brendan Gormley said: "Like many charities we had taken a cautious approach to Twitter but when three disasters hit within a week we had to use whatever tools were to hand.
"We didn’t hire expensive consultants, rewrite our marketing and communication strategies or develop exhaustive new social media guidelines. We relied on advice from staff and partners already making good use of twitter, trusted their professionalism and common sense, and then dived right in.
"The biggest risk we faced was not that we might make a mistake, it was that we would miss a chance to help save more lives.
"Despite the very strong response to the appeal the gap between the need and the money available from all sources remains huge."