Charity begins at home (and on Facebook)

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Jay Dillon

Director of Strategy and Creative at Inbound Experts
Jay is a digital marketer and producer whose creative and technical skills have developed digital brand strategies and sales campaigns using a range of complex internet applications from stand-alone websites through to Facebook API integrations.
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A few months ago (February actually) we ran the Social Media for Febfast (www.febfast.org.au).

The success we had with Febfast made it clear to me how essential social media is for charities to raise awareness and encourage donations.

In the past a charities online presence would consist of what we call a brochure website (static websites with one-way conversations) these new social networks however, provide tools for anyone and everyone to converse and engage with their own community.

These sites all take different forms (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Blogs, Forums etc) but all have the same purpose; to allow people to make connections and have conversations.

The popularity of these communities has seen them quickly grow from a novelty for the early adopters of technology to a regular form of communication for members of the general public.

Key statistics for Australia:

  • 9 million Australians regularly interact via social networks
  • These users spend an average of 6.5 hours on social networks each week
  • Australian consumers spend 17.3 hours online each week compared to 13 hours watching television.

The main benefits of social media to a charity:

  • Spread the word
  • Every time an interaction occurs between your organisation and a supporter this interaction (and your charity) is exposed to all their friends. This really taps into the feeling that someone gets from knowing that all their friends can see what a good person they are by being involved with your charity.

Build an engaged community

Social media gives your supporters the tools they need to actively participate in the charity. It allows supporters to have open discussions about the aims of the organisation and their own personal stories. It also provides innovative tools for raising funds. An example is a Facebook Application that allows an individual to raise money for a charity on their birthday (in lieu of gifts). When it comes to social media technology creative and engaging ideas are possible at minimal cost.

Demonstrate and educate

Social media allows the charity organisation to make long lasting connections with their supporter and through the powerful medium of images and video, easily demonstrate the aims of the organisation and the direct effect supporters have. All in real time.

The truth is that your current and potential supporters are using social media, the opportunity is with engaging with them in a creative and interesting way.

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