Monthly Archives: February 2011

How to Use Social Media to Your Benefit

Now that you have seen specific cases where the use of social media has positively impacted a fellow nonprofit organization, you may be eager to create your own presence in social media. Simply being present online isn’t enough; effectively using social media is a dynamic process.

A large benefit of using social media in innovative ways is that it can increase your audience’s involvement. In her blog post,4 Tips on How Non-Profits Can Leverage Social Media,” Candace Tyler states that simply having Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare accounts aren’t enough and that the audience needs to be involved in your organization. Online marketing and fundraising is based around reaching out to your followers and winning them over and you can do this by showing your statistics, offering incentives, and giving them the opportunity to volunteer in unique ways.

Regardless of the size of your nonprofit organization, being active in the social media outlets can result in a tighter bond between your organization and your audience and can also increase your funds. In the blog post, “Five Quick Fundraising Tips for Nonprofits using Social Media,” Hector Herrera discusses ways in which a nonprofit organization can approach their audience in order to extract donations while still keeping your dignity in tact. He recommends using various social media tools that can accompany each other in your fundraising campaign; for example having a Facebook donation page and also using Twitter to promote your campaign. Two of the most important tips he offers are to post regularly and to create a recurring campaign. Posting regularly gets the your word out immediately and allows your audience to be updated on the details, which is important because everyone wants to be in-the-know. Creating a recurring campaign is essential because it allows for ongoing support from your audience.

Like Herrera, Nick Damoulakis also advocates the use of social media to share with your audience what your organization has up its sleeves. In his post “10 Marketing Strategies for Non-Profit Organizations (Part 1 of 3),” he stresses the importance of not only informing your audience but involving them. Damoulakis encourages you to utilize your supporters, who he describes as brand enthusiasts, in your nonprofit’s success. He says that the people who support you will reinforce your online presence because they will take it upon themselves to create blogs, podcasts, and videos that will promote your news and events.

Lastly, use social media to connect with other organizations. Developing relationships with people who you share common goals with can possibly lead to business partnerships and learning experiences!

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Posted by on February 23, 2011 in Uncategorized


The 1 Billion Hungry Project Spreads Like Wildfire

An organization’s message can spread like wildfire if they are using social media tactics correctly. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations tested these tactics in their 1 Billion Hungry campaign. This campaign was created in order to spread awareness about the 1 billion people in this world that go hungry each day.  The 1 Billion Hungry Project website states their overall objective as creating a global movement and inspiring people to blow their whistle on hunger; the organization wanted to encourage people to become angry about the issue present in today’s world so that they would take action against it.  In the blog “FAO: 1 billion hungry project,” Alessandro Sciortino states that their campaign, launched in May 2010, consisted of an online petition that would put pressure on politicians to act against world hunger and make that specific issue a priority. The FAO sought to obtain one million signatures for their petition.

According to Dir. Adriano Falconi in the article, “Dir. Adriano Falconi directed Oscar winner Jeremy Irons in a PSA for FAO out of McCann Erickson,” the campaign initially began with a broadcasting launch event and quickly spread through many other media sources. The campaign hit TV, print, merchandising, PR, events, the iPhone, and the Internet. He claims that every day there was an addition of a communication method. The 1 Billion Hungry Project launched its own website to exhibit their communication uses. While these included the methods previously listed, they also included YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter. The communication that took place on these forms of social media allowed for the audience to pass the information along to their connections. This resulted in 350,000 YouTube views, 65,000 Facebook friends, and 4,000 Twitter followers.

Here is the video launched by the organization in order to inspire their audience to get mad about the 1 billion people who go hungry each day:

The petition reached 3,200,000 signatures and was presented to the representatives of the United Nations on November 30, 2010. The success of the online petition can be credited to the use of social media. The spread of this message through social media tools allowed for people to connect from different parts of the world in order to make a significant difference in the lives of those who go hungry every day.

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Posted by on February 16, 2011 in Uncategorized


American Red Cross’ Utilization of “Text to Donate” Campaign

Organizations are constantly affected by their surrounding environment. When a crisis occurs, it is vital for an organization to respond quickly and efficiently. This immediacy can be accomplished through the use of social media tools. The American Red Cross exemplifies the importance of this technique through their unique use of cellular devices in a campaign to raise money for those whose lives were altered by the earthquake in Haiti.

The American Red Cross did not wait to react to the devastating news of the earthquake. In her blog post, “Non profits: Time to Get Mobile,” Allyson Kapin states that the organization launched a “text to donate” campaign only three hours after the disaster occurred. This campaign allowed any individual to donate a maximum of $10 three separate times by simply texting HAITI to a specified number; the donation was then charged to their cell phone bill. In Alex Palmer’s blog post, “American Red Cross Raises Stakes on Mobile,” Brian Leamy states that he believes this method is the easiest and most straightforward way of donating because an individual doesn’t have to write a check or give out credit card information and everyone knows how to send a text message.

Allyson Kapin states that by the first full day of campaigning, American Red Cross had received around $800,000 worth of donations. By the second day, the mobile contributions totaled to $5 million. By the end of the campaign, around $35 million was raised all together.

In the American Red Cross’ blog post, “There is Hope for Haiti,” Gail McGovern describes that the donations received from this campaign went directly to emergency relief. Around 40 percent of American households contributed to the relief campaign and ultimately assisted in providing food for the people directly affected by the earthquake, drinkable water for thousands a day, tents and tarps, business loans and grants to help 220,000 acquire the means to get back on their feet, and a vaccination campaign immunizing nearly one million people against fatal diseases.

After the success of the campaign for Haiti relief funding, they continued to utilize this campaign technique. The American Red Cross launched another campaign on December 1, 2010, this time increasing the maximum donation amount to $25 instead of $10. This particular campaign was launched around the holidays and allowed individuals to make donations to aid in fund efforts for disaster response, assisting the military, and teaching first aid.

The American Red Cross wrote an article that stressed the importance of using social media to respond to emergencies. The “White Paper: The Case for Integrating Crisis Response with Social Media” describes how social media now goes hand-in-hand with crisis response. The paper also states that the public has grown dependent on social media as a means of sharing and gaining information about crises. Creating a response through a social media outlet is necessary because more and more people are turning to social media as their first choice in communicating about these crises. As a response and aid community, you must get ahead of the trend in order to be effective.

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Posted by on February 7, 2011 in Uncategorized


Tweets Can Make You Smile

Most organizations and corporations use Twitter as a means of providing a two-way conversation flow between themselves and their constituents. The nonprofit organization Operation Smile went beyond the basic uses of Twitter and engaged their audience in an innovative way by creating an event to help raise money to pay for surgeries for children with facial deformities.

They began their campaign by creating a Twitter page called 140 Smiles. Operation Smile informed their audiences that by donating a minimum of $240, they could pay for an entire cleft surgery for a young child and help improve the child’s quality of life. The grand prize for the group or individual that assisted in raising the most money was a trip to New Zealand.

Miriam Kagan followed this impressive campaign and wrote about it in her blog, “Twitter Fundraising: Operation Smile’s 140 Smiles Campaign,” Miriam applauds Operation Smile for targeting a social media involved audience in their brave endeavor. She explains that this campaign was a smart move because it made it easy for an individual or group to donate and it encouraged these individuals to advocate the cause to the people they are linked to. Miriam ultimately hopes that other organizations will follow Operation Smile’s lead and start to blend social media into their own fundraising campaigns.

In the video below, posted by RaganTV, the social media strategist for Operation Smile, Renee Alexander Hamilton, explains their Twitter fundraising event and provides advice for organizations who are thinking about taking a step towards implementing social media into their fundraising plans.

While the Twitter campaign was successful for Operation Smile, Renee Hamilton warns organizations that it may not be right for everyone. If Twitter or other social medias can advance your organization’s goals, Hamilton advises to go into it with little expectations and be content with the fact that if nothing else, you have been successful in increasing awareness of your organization.

One of the greatest benefits of this type of social media fundraising campaign is that the people who are truly interested will pass word about your cause to the people they are connected to. Social media campaigns like this one are great ways for viral marketing to emerge. The 140 Smiles campaign continues to this day and because of viral marketing it will continue to receive donations.

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Posted by on February 2, 2011 in Uncategorized