Saturday, November 21, 2009

Social Media for the Social Good—Non-profits Explore New Methods of Outreach

Three local non-profit organizations were featured in a Sacramento Social Media Club panel on Tuesday evening hosted by the Sacramento State College of Continuing Education. The panel included Celia Cortez, Projects and Event Manager for the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Jordan Blair, Board Member for River City Food Bank; and Jon Benorden, Program Coordinator for the Center for AIDS Research, Education and Service (CARES). Lesley Miller, Media Director for 3Fold Communication, also sat on the panel. Moderator Josh Morgan, principal at Morgan/Dorado and program director for the Sacramento Social Media Club, focused the discussion on how non-profits are using social media to educate, engage, and build lasting relationships with their communities.

Facebook was the unanimous point of entry into social media for all three organizations. Cortez said the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber selected Facebook because it was the most popular platform among their member organizations; Blair choose Facebook for River City Food Bank because it is the platform upon which he spends the most time. “Facebook provides an easy way for people to connect with causes and non-profits thanks to its one-click ‘become a fan’ feature, “commented Morgan. River City Food Bank, where many of their long-term contributors are past retirement age, is finding that Facebook helps them to engage with the next generation of donors. However some of their loyal supporters are stepping out into social media as well; an 85 year old volunteer joined Facebook just so he could “friend” the River city Food Bank. Benorden said that their “old school” supporters are beginning to mesh with the new people they’ve engaged through their group & page on Facebook but that CARES still has a long way to go.

Both the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and CARES are also using Twitter to promote their organizations and causes. Miller said 3Fold encourages their clients to cross post on multiple social media platforms to increase the traffic among all the sites. For example, use Twitter to remind people the organization is on Facebook or create an event on Yelp and ask people to write a review. I frequently use Twitter to drive traffic to SARTA.org’s website or LinkedIn group where more detailed membership and event information is available.

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