Using social media to give back is an effective way to use new technology and invest in a like-minded community. Nonprofits seek to bring their mission to the largest possible audience and gather invested followers; social media can directly impact their effectiveness.
You may already receive updates via snail mail a few times a year and return a donation envelope to the causes you support. With social media, you can go one step further.
Baby Boomers can give back through social media by allowing you to engage with the organizations you support on a daily basis and help you receive real-time updates on how to get involved.
Examples of how social media can effect change:
The movie Girl Rising was released in spring 2013 through grassroots efforts. The reach and response of this film about prioritizing education for girls across the world occurred thanks to social media engagement. Cities were able to request the film be shown in their area by selling a certain number of tickets.
Leading up to World Water Day on March 22, 2013, WaterAid took their campaign to Twitter and Facebook. #20ways in 20 days was a countdown leading up to World Water Day that helped show how an investment in water and sanitation could be the beginning of a better world. Their followers shared the #20ways images, and the cause and impact of WaterAid spread.
The #enditmovement is another Twitter and Facebook campaign. It began with college students and has spread rapidly. The End It Movement sought to shine a light on modern day slavery. Their social media campaign raised awareness of the human trafficking that occurs today all over the world and has brought deeper support to their partner organizations.
How can you give back through social media?
1. Likes extend reach
Simply liking organizations on Facebook or following them on Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and LinkedIn extends their reach. On their homepages, most organizations feature their social media icons prominently; a simple click allows you to follow their updates.
2. Newsletters and blog updates become shareable information
Signing up for newsletters and blog updates through email allows you to be the first to know what’s happening with your cause. Share the information that excites you via social media, and be sure to mention the organization with the “at” sign. Links with a personal message are even more effective. For example, “I love the campaign @10x10act is launching through the film @girlrising. Here is the promotional poster“.
3. Images inspire action
Images resonate with people and effect action. Pinterest images can also be shared through other social media networks. Add a personal statement, such as “I support @wateraid because 700,000 children die of water related illnesses each year.”
4. Hashtags and handles solidify support
When you share a website, blog post, image or campaign, use the appropriate hashtags and handles. @handles help the organizations know you support them. #hashtags help organize information being shared about an organization or campaign; when you click on a hashtag, you’ll see all other tweets that contain the same hashtag. The following tweet uses both: @worldrenew_net #seatosea bike riders raise money to fight poverty.
5. Personal email messages are effective
Send a personal message to trusted friends via email. Share why you support your cause or organization and include links to the website and social media. People are likely to respond to someone they have an established relationship with and if information is right at their fingertips.
6. Add your signature to online petition sites
There are a number of online petition sites such as change.org. The petitions that interest you can be shared to your Twitter and Facebook accounts easily, often summoning more support for the causes you’re passionate about. One campaign successfully helped domestic violence survivors cancel Verizon phone contracts without fines, an important step to ensure their safety.
7. Invest in your cause community
Involving yourself in social media to give back allows you to connect with like-minded community. When you follow and friend others who support similar non-profit interests, often you can combine efforts and form long-term friendships. Share your stories and look for ways to deepen your activism.
8. A movement propelled by Baby Boomers
The Baby Boomer generation has enormous potential to make a difference through social media. What campaign will be propelled next by the social media efforts of this generation?
Using social media allows you to give back as an advocate and an influencer. You make a difference by drawing others in close proximity of a cause. Engaging in social media allows you to become more invested as well. Social media for a cause is a positive way for people to use their online voices. When combined with others, your voice will gather momentum and hold power to effect change.
How do you think Baby Boomers can give back through the use of social media?