Menu Close Back

News News |

By Matthew Donaruma

Fundraising for Ukraine with a Secret Snapchat Feature

Here at Optic Sky, the team has been following the Russian invasion of Ukraine with horror, sympathy, and the understanding that the Ukrainian people are not just fighting for themselves, but to preserve democracy around the world.



After a lot of watching and reading, we decided to leverage our unique talents to actually do something about it.

So, we reached out to RocMaidan, the charitable arm of the Ukrainian Cultural Center of Rochester, to see how we could best support their mission of providing medical equipment and supplies, arranging humanitarian aid, and providing medical help to injured Ukrainians.

Their answer? Find a way to spur donations.


It just so happened that we had been seeking a project to test an unreleased Snapchat feature made available to us via the Snap Lens Creator Network, of which we are a part. The “secret” feature allows us to add hyperlinks and buttons with CTAs, all within the snap filter itself.

So of course, we immediately thought of creating a RocMaidan social filter that people could share with friends and family to drive awareness and donations.


“Though we have a large roster of freelancers and directors, our core in-house team is a tight knit group,” says Aaron Gordon, CEO, Optic Sky. “We like it this way because it enables us to really get to know each other and to remain authentic toward one another. Part of that authenticity is remaining true to our individual values.

“In this case, all of our values aligned resoundingly. The situation in Ukraine was hanging around the office like an elephant in the room and we all felt an obligation to use the tools and skills we have in an effort to help.”


As time was of the essence, we quickly created and deployed the filter. And, since we are always tweaking and testing, we decided to run the exact same filter on Instagram to generate the most donations possible, as well as to see how the two performed comparatively.

We’ll report back on performance, but in the meantime…

We hope you too will do your part and donate—or simply share the filters to help spread the word! 🇺🇦

About RocMaidan

RocMaidan is the charitable arm of the Ukrainian Cultural Center of Rochester, a 501(c)(3) public non-profit organization. It is a community organization initially formed to support Ukraine’s democratic voices at Kyiv’s EuroMaidan. Its group of diverse professionals represents organizations and individuals in the Rochester area. RocMaidan provides information, resources, advocacy, connection and communication with federal, state, and local officials, information sharing with media and educational institutions, and the general public.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, RocMaidan has been working nonstop to deliver medical equipment and supplies, arrange humanitarian aid, and provide medical help to injured Ukrainians.

Learn more at: