Social Media has become the “class favorite” of charities worldwide, mobilizing thousands of individuals to donate to countless causes, from breast cancer awareness to combating genocide. Through photo-sharing and blogging platforms, social media bypasses the “controlled release” of public information, empowering the average citizen to go out there, share the facts, and make a difference. Even amidst the chaos of conversation, social media insures that the stories of those who suffered, those who struggled, and those who fought will be seen and heard.
Will social media replace traditional methods of mobilization, such as canvassing, galas, and public rallies? Will “mass mobilization” of the future be reduced to logging on to Facebook and clicking a “donate” or “like” button?
Charity organizations view social media as serving a supporting function, not as the replacement. This mindset properly reconciles the virtual with the real – it is another way of spreading the word, another way to inspire individuals and captivate their sympathy, if only for a short while.
A fantastic example of how a company (a call center, nonetheless) mobilized a community is Concorde Communications. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, “Concorde told all their valuable clients that if they received payment on their invoices by December 30th, they would donate a turkey [the client’s] behalf to the Los Angeles Mission, which would help provide a hot meal for the homeless.” This initiative saw “an over 23% increase in payments” and they were “able to donate more than 80 turkeys…” Also, “at the end of project, each client received a personalized letter from the Los Angeles Mission stating that they received a turkey on their behalf.”
By “re-assigning” the donating process, hundreds of individuals can donate to a cause through one “umbrella” organization – in this case, just by performing a normal activity of paying an invoice, you can help fight hunger.
What businesses can learn from charity organizations is that people respond to information when it resonates. Creating a clear message, and broadcasting this message in an accessible, relatable way, will motivate people to act. When it comes to charity, social media is hardly “all chatter” – tweets encourage people to “attend this rally” or “click here” or “donate there.” Following up information with a call to action is integral to making a change.