Social Media Can Boost Funding in a Tough Economy

Is It Hopeless For Nonprofits to Get Funding?

Since the market crash of 2008, nonprofit organizations have struggled with funding an increased demand of people needing help.  It creates challenge for nonprofits to continue providing service at pre-2008 levels and forces leaders to think unconventionally when it comes to collecting funds.  As government funding continues to dwindle, it’s difficult to address an economically strained community, but don’t become discouraged with all the negative statistics.  They’re important to consider, but there is a way to reach people wanting to help.

Social Media Is Key

Facebook and YouTube appear to be the most common outlets used by nonprofits today because they offer a forum to communicate on a personal level.  Facebook allows nonprofits to communicate what services are offered and available, share inspirational testimonials, and connect people with like interest.  For example, American Red Cross in District of Columbia, DC uses Facebook to communicate health tips regarding flu shots, how to manage fire alarms in your home, and updates on services provided abroad.  Facebook offers the ability to upload pictures, videos, web links, and instant updates during disasters.   The United Way uses Facebook to communicate ways to deal with student truancy, and other child related assistant services.  In both cases, Facebook is a useful tool to personalize messages with pictures and videos to show the worth of their efforts.  YouTube is also used by many nonprofit organizations.

YouTube videos are pure in a sense as there is no question to the testimonies or effects of where donations are being spent.   I’m suspect there is always question to the authenticity of the video, but looking at this example it is hard to say, “this is fake.”

Twitter Can Help

I don’t think many nonprofits are using the total benefits of other social media like Twitter.  Twitter can be used to communicate immediate status updates during a disaster like Hurricanes Katrina or Sandy.  It can be used to send links to where money from donations is going and how people can help.  Most feel money is the only means of help, but that’s not true.

I’ll use myself as an example.  I’m not the richest man on earth, so I don’t have a lot of money, but I can donate time, labor, or skill.  I know how to hammer a nail.  I know how to saw along a line.  I have a pickup that can be used to haul junk to the dump, and a lot more. I’m a business man by trade, but I’m able to help anyway I can.  I feel there are many like me in this world but if I knew where I can connect and donate my small part, many like me combined can make a difference.  This is where Twitter can connect the dots.

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NhN: Where Do I Start?

Neighbors helping Neighbors

It has always been my passion to help those in need, but if there is anyone like me, many times I don’t have enough money to make a difference.  However, I can donate time, help swing a hammer, help haul materials, and even afford small amounts of $50, but even that will not solve most problems.  BUT, if many with similar interest and like donations come together locally, we can make a difference in our communities.

  • How Do I Bring People Together?

Aside from a descent website, I’ll need the force of social media to market and communicate the cause.  For the purpose of this blog, I decided to compare and contrast social media forums Twitter and Tumblr to determine the impact and usefulness of these tools.

  • What is Twitter?

Twitter is a real-time online social network with small 140 character posts called Tweets used to share news, pictures, ideas, videos, opinions, and blogs .  It is comprised of people or organizations one can follow, and be followed.  The good thing about Twitter is followers and following is by choice dependent on like interests or opinions. 

  • What is Tumblr?

Tumblr is similar to Twitter in that you can post the same content, but there is no character limit and it is just as fast to communicate as Twitter.  To many, it is more of a blog forum.  With Tumblr, you can create a Tumblr page showing all your interests and comments, whereas, Twitter only allows a small limited text profile. 

  • Is there a difference in Audience

Both tools provide the option to choose followers and be chosen; however from my experience, there appears to be a difference in audience.  Tumblr seems to consist more of a younger group sharing opinions, pictures, and videos of their life’s experiences or beliefs, whereas, Twitter consist of an older group with Tweets of advice, business experience, marketing solutions, and news forums. 

  • Followers

When searching for followers of like interest, for example, #charity #peoplehelpingpeople, Twitter has more followers to choose from.  I was surprised to see the lack of options in Tumblr.  If I were to target helping teens with cyber bullying or threats of suicide, Tumblr would be the perfect place to offer assistance.  Tumblr may also be a good place to find volunteers, but parents would need to be involved and share the same passion.  I probably wouldn’t find many volunteers using Tumblr with trade skills like plumbing, carpentry, or auto mechanics, so Twitter would be the better option for this kind of search.   

  • Who is Following ME?

To be followed on Twitter or Tumblr, it is assumed one would use the same process as you and search for like interests; however, that’s not been entirely the case with Twitter.  I’ve only been using Twitter for about a month now and I’m up to 46 followers; many with similar interest, but about ¼ with nothing in common. I read an article in the TNW by Lauren Hockenson about people selling and buying “quality Twitter followers” to boost their numbers which in turn gives the impression of high influence or popularity. That’s somewhat weird and beyond the intent, but the groundswell is an undefined entityWith regards to Tumblr, I’ve only been using this tool for about a week and haven’t received one request.  I suppose I need to work more at posting more and sharing my passions of helping people to gain a following

  • The World is My Platform

Twitter and Tumblr both provide an unlimited world platform so my messages and post can be seen and responded to from anyone in the world.  Marketing the cause is faster and easier using social media than convention ways of using newspapers, direct mail, or email blasts.  With Tumblr, I can post a video or pictures directly which helps attract activity.  I can’t do the same with Twitter.  I would have to create a catchy phrase to attract activity and provide a link with my pictures and videos.  I can post testimonials on Tumblr with unlimited character requirements, but not with Twitter because of the 140 character limitations.  Nevertheless, I still need to consider the audience and who will most likely read my posts and Tweets. 

               

Sources:

https://twitter.com/about

http://www.tumblr.com/about

http://thenextweb.com/twitter/2012/12/15/fake-followers-an-easy-game-but-not-worth-the-risk/