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Nonprofits using social for gains

Nonprofits have taken advantage of social media’s ability to reach out for new volunteers and supplies in ways that are faster than ever before.

An increasing number of nonprofit organizations are using social media to reach their target audiences to meet their needs and to keep in touch with members.

Creating a page on any network is quick, easy, and – more important – free. Once a page is created, millions of social network users can access the page. Allowing every user on social media to access the page is important for bringing in new ideas and new people to the nonprofit.

Cradles to Crayons, which provides clothing, school supplies, and toys to children, is one of several area organizations whose target audience is now just a click away. Twitter and Facebook are invaluable for informing volunteers with daily posts.

“Social media allows us to communicate directly with a variety of audiences and post calls for volunteers, products, and funds,” said Stella Pressman, the West Conshohocken organization’s marketing and communication coordinator. “Our website, Facebook, and Twitter also allow us to highlight our achievements, thank our donors, and highlight specific news and events.”

According to Pressman, Cradles to Crayons served over 50,000 vulnerable children in 2012. It has also provided over 21,000 backpacks, engaged over 13,000 volunteers, partnered with 260 social service agencies, and facilitated over 1,000 collection drives.

Northeast Animal Rescue, located in Northeast Philadelphia, is another local nonprofit that utilizes social media to communicate with other organizations with a similar cause. Secretary Cathy Merrigan said daily postings on Facebook provide a way of communicating with other groups.

“Social media helps us find other rescue organizations that specialize in special need adoptions, such as blind cats or medical needs cats,” Merrigan said.

“Facebook has helped with our adoptions. Weekly, we post a special feature of an available cat and by virtue of our posts going viral, we have found adopters that are a perfect fit for the adoptable cat, and the cat is a perfect fit for that family.”

Different goals call for a different approach to reaching out.

Choices of the Heart in Turnersville offers help to women and couples facing unplanned pregnancy. Laurie Power, donor development manager at Choices of the Heart, said the organization utilizes social media by posting once or twice a week to keep in touch with members of the program.

“Social media has made staying connected both with our clients and supporter base much easier,” Powers said. “We have moved away from paper newsletters to more frequent electronic updates. Social media has allowed us to touch lives online and has given our current supporters the ability to share our organization with others and refer friends to our page.”

Social media have created an efficient way for nonprofits to reach out to the millions of social media users. It has already made a huge impact with nonprofits and it’s likely to continue.


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