Where Charities Create a Voice to Meet their Mission: An Important Concept

October 12, 2009

In my last post, Where Do Bloggers Fit Into the Newspaper World?,” I wrote about how newspapers have adopted blogs successfully. In today’s post I want to illustrate the voices that echoes throughout charity blogs to help enhance a charity’s mission. I note charities in particular because the ones that have utilized social media’s special features well have done something incredible: create a voice and stick to the mission. The beauty of it is that most charities do not have money for advertising purposes so they are initially forced to adopt methods that are cheaper in budget. Also, charities embody a natural warm tone to their cause contradictory to the way profiting corporations can sound. Again, we are veering away from web 1.0 tactics where it cost a full budget to make and produce big colorful poster only to be bypassed by people stuck in a recession.

Red Cross

The Red Cross is one of our oldest most notable charities that have its roots in helping and aiding natural disasters and war. However, the Red Cross ran into some reputation trouble during the Hurricane Katrina Crisis. According to SocialCorp: Social Media Goes Corporate by Joel Postman, the organization itself was the largest recipient in donations at the time of the hurricane disaster. Their response to the solution of aiding the project drew criticism from people all over the nation on issues ranging from unorganized distribution of supply relief and unprepared workers, which included felons. In order to regain their reputation, the Red Cross fostered mandatory blog postings that reside in each department to immediately update disaster relief. They even tweet headlines, which obviously is distributed faster. Without a good reputation, the organization does not receive money for funding from the public.

Red Cross

Red Cross

charity-ribbons

March of Dimes

According to the March of Dimes (MOD) website, the blog for the March of Dimes features different sections on what goes on with the charity from: A word from our sponsors, Angela’s blog (resident blogger), family teams, online fundraising, team youth, and volunteers. This adds insight to the entire community for full transparency with a dedication to the mission in full honesty. They deeply want to know your story. There is even a forum called, Share Your Story that allows members to share their pains and happiness. The stories help fuel the organization’s reputation. I write about this charity because I’m working with the Shenandoah Valley Chapter on an Advertising campaign. Surprisingly, in an interview with Mary Knapp, their division director, in comparison to other nation wide non-profit organizations , MOD is listed as a plus and above the Susan G Komen organization in unaided awareness. I have never heard of this organization prior to working with Mary.

Celebrities in Charity

Charities are able to use the face of stars once in a while, ones that dedicate their time and effort to raising awareness.  In fact, March of Dimes above mentions celebrities that have shed some light on the charity. Well, according to an article titled, Jet Li Blogs on Charity by Tim Saunders on Look to the Stars, a website on charity news and information that take place exclusively with stars, Jet Li blogs to set awareness for his organization the One Foundation that dedicates time and mental power to helping out international disasters just like the Sichuan’s earthquake. Li mentions that commercial organizations and citizens that help the cause allows for philanthropy grants to further the success of the organization, which “promotes professionalism and transparency.”

Conclusion

What corporate blogs can take away from just keeping in mind how charities run with social media, is the culture it builds with its workers and publics. There is a voice that stands out, and even charities like the Red Cross have messed up in the past but have worked on utilizing transparency efforts to improve.

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4 Responses to “Where Charities Create a Voice to Meet their Mission: An Important Concept”

  1. Lauren Babbage said

    I really enjoyed this post, especially because I have been working at Big Brothers Big Sisters in Harrisonburg for two years now and it has really amazed me how far my office has come in terms of social media. We now have a Facebook page, and you can follow us on Twitter. I think this is a great use of social media for non-for-profit organizations because it’s free! The only downside, which I have noticed at my work, is finding someone who knows a little bit about this stuff is willing to keep up with it. Also, in research for my blog I have found many celebrities using social media to encourage people to give support to their charity. It’s really starting to become the new ‘fad’.

  2. Angeline Vo said

    I found the same problem at my work too Lauren. Also, I found it hard to introduce to an older group of people that Facebook is where people connect. Some people just don’t have a clue and when you leave, it’s gone again because you still have a hesitant audience who will not double click to open the doors to social media. Thanks.

  3. Michelle Goydan said

    I also worked at a non-profit this summer but luckily they already had an online community presence. It was amazing to be able to jump right into compete with what most for profit companies already had. One of the really great experiences I saw, in relation to non-profit, is the story sharing and networking that was created between one site. The process of connecting people with similar causes creates a great support system for everyone involved. There so many different and great cause that sometime information doesn’t get dispersed as need due to lack of funds. This is a great cost efficient way for non-profits to be heard.

  4. Angeline Vo said

    That’s a great point you bring up there the ability to jump right into what non profits are doing. Since they don’t have a set budget they have no choice but to conform to new ways of outreaching. Non profits are on my list of places to apply to to get a job later. It will help learn good values in communicating.

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