I’d like to introduce you to my friend Jake Moore [@StLCardsGuy]. Not only is he using Social Media to bring awareness to something he’s passionate about, he’s an all around great guy. He’s one of those Friends on Facebook or Twitter Followers that you look forward to their posts each and everyday.
Here’s Jake’s story…in his own words.
“My passion is for economic stabilization of third world countries. That’s water #1…4,500 people die each day from lack of clean drinking water. I also do things with medical programs, schools, sustainable ag & small business development. I don’t have a specific organization I work with, though, I volunteer with several and sit on the boards of some smaller ones.
The two charities I work with the most are charity: water and Samaritan’s Purse. I started out as a young boy building houses for the poor overseas on summer breaks. It has always been a passion of mine. Over time I became familiar with plenty of other groups. Like I said, many are good, but I tend to focus my efforts. I raise awareness and do a number of fundraising projects like having people bring money to donate to drill wells for my 30th birthday party or where people bring gifts to give to poor kids overseas at Christmas parties. I really do a fair amount of fundraising drives, as well.
There are lots of ways to get involved. charity: water has lots of self-help fundraising ideas on their site. They are a good organization because they provide lots of tools for the average person. They have posters, videos and all kinds of information for free download to spread the word. The ideas are limitless, but the easiest is to pick an event and use it to raise money. For example, you could run a marathon and get sponsors or use your birthday. They have tons of suggestions. I also work with a guy in St. Louis, the Shoe guy. He has a great program that we are trying to take national. He collects old shoes, resells them in the 3rd world by the pound and then uses the money to drill wells.
Both Facebook and Twitter have their advantages. Facebook can integrate so that posts are sent to Twitter, then you can supplement facts on Twitter. You can even automate them through SocialOomph so it becomes much less time intensive.
I think non-profits should be involved in social media, but that can’t be used as fundraising. People tune that out. We need it for awareness and volunteer opportunities.
On a blog I would concentrate on awareness items, such as getting the word out, very simple action steps people can do, give them a form letter they can copy and fax or let them know some very simple things. Blogs can also help get the word out about what you are doing through calendar items. In addition, you can spotlight volunteers, which keeps them involved, and let others know how people can fit volunteering into their lives.
I think social media is hard on volunteers, unless you have a very well thought out campaign with specific instructions for them; blog posts perhaps or getting some data up on Facebook if there are pictures/videos etc. But tweeting…you run the risk of them messing up your message, in my opinion.”