19 May 2015

The significance of social media for not-for-profits

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I used to once think that Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms were only used for personal and social reasons however in recent years, many corporate businesses have capitalised on the power of social media to drive their business, launch new products and strengthen their customer loyalty.

The not-for-profit sector on the other hand haven’t been as quick to jump on the social media ‘bandwagon’. However, incorporating a social media strategy is increasingly becoming vital for not-for-profits to increase their donor base, strengthen their volunteer participation and foster growth with other stakeholders. Larger not-for-profits such as Red Cross and UNICEF have an interactive online presence and have had great success with social media. Furthermore, this goes to show that if not-for-profit utilize social media to its full potential, it can even be a fundraising tool to increase awareness of a cause or to promote a fundraising campaign.   

I realized the significant power of social media when I came across the “Kony” campaign in 2012 by Invisible Children, a San Diego-based nonprofit advocacy organisation. They had one clear focus and that was to increase awareness of the activities of the Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony on a large scale. Not only did the ‘Kony’ campaign become viral but in drew in support from millions of views around the world.

A recent example of a social media success is when Facebook users were reported to have donated more than $US15 million to the people of Nepal after the destructive earthquakes after Mark Zuckerberg, put out a call to give money to the International Medical Corps using the ‘donate’ icon. The article also mentioned that more than 750,000 people from all four corners of the world contributed to this massive sum of money. This again emphasises the power of social media and its ability to transcend geography and its sheer capacity to reach a large scale audience.

Twitter and Facebook are by far the most popular social media outlets however some not-profits-profits are exploring emerging social media platforms such as Snapchat, Tumblr and Instagram. Last year in April, the use of Snapchat by the World Wildlife Fund for its #LastSelfie campaign was a loud reminder that social media is an ever-evolving space and that other platforms can also successful. 

Social media does come with its risks though Dafna Ciechanover Bonas, CEO of Founders Forum For Good mentioned that they can be mitigated by having a clear focus. She said that "Social media efforts need a core strategy.They need to be planned and they need to be focused"

I am no expert when it comes to social media however I would urge the not-for-profits to be more proactive and engaging on social media because social media is not a ‘fad’ and it most definitely is here to stay.

When Aranei was seven she truly believed she could one day train turtles in the Galapagos. Unfortunately she came to the realization that such a thing could never happen. A couple of years later, she decided to be a conference producer and has never looked back. The best part of her role is exploring different sectors and getting in-depth insights from thought leaders and well-experienced specialists from varying sectors.          

1 comment :

  1. Your post is really good providing good information on emerging social media platforms.. I liked it and enjoyed reading it. Keep sharing such important posts.