March 21, 2011

Social Networking Media Boosts Non-Profit Awareness

Posted in Media at 1:17 pm by brittanylschmidt

With the innumerable catastrophes and life altering news stories happening worldwide, it has been impossible to not see them blogged, tweeted, or face booked.  These media sources have helped provide a significant portal for individuals to fight for their rights as well as for celebrities to promote charities.

Due to the outrageous hoards of people who flock to twitter and other social networking sites, these non-profit groups are becoming mainstream as more people follow and support them.

According to Josh Catone, Mashup Feature Editor, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes stated that more than 75,000 reports of the Haiti earthquake in January 2010 were streamed across news sources and “the content was horrific, but ultimately galvanizing”. These news stories posted on Twitter and Facebook raised $1.3 billion dollars, eventually donating $31 million via text message.

This new outreach created new ways to use social networking in non-profit organizations.  Hughes is currently developing a Facebook-like sight, which will allow Internet goers, the ability to search for, follow, and support organizations, such as the one for the Haiti earthquake.

Hughes states “We feel that it’s imperative to make it easy for everyday people… to take action”.

More recently, social media has been at the center of the devastation that has happened in Japan. Specifically with twitter, celebrities and average citizens have been pushing for donations via the Red Cross.

Mark Hoppus, member of Twitter, tweets “horrible what’s happening in Japan.  You can text   REDCROSS to 90999 to send $10 to relief efforts.  Thoughts and prayers.”

It is clear that social networks have played a large role in relief efforts and celebrities on the Internet have seen even stronger efforts with the endorsement of non-profit organizations. Alicia Keys, who started Keep A Child Alive,” promotes AIDS awareness and suggests celebrities give up social media for a day to improve fundraising for this cause.  Several celebrities have agreed to raise one million dollars for HIV and AIDS research during this time.

Without social networks, it would be impossible for celebrities to fight for campaigns they are fervently involved with. TwitChange.com, a place for celebrities to hold auctions for personal phone calls or to be followed on twitter, has raised thousands of dollars for such charities as AHomeInHaiti and Operation Once in a Lifetime.

This auction site allows for these great causes to be supported by celebrities and fans alike, while celebrities get to give back to those fans who love and follow them. Celebrities auction themselves, offering a reTweet, follow or @Mention to those who give money. All the money is donated to a charity of the celebrities’ choice.

Ava Longoria was the spokesperson for the first auction and all of her proceeds went to AHomeInHaiti, which is a non-profit organization that provides safe shelters for those who lost their homes in Haiti.  Troy Polamalu quickly joined the fight donating his proceeds to Operation Once in a Lifetime, which helps to make the dreams of military personnel and their families come true.

TwitChange’s newest campaign is called Care, which is set up to help 12-year-old girls escape poverty by becoming educated instead of getting married by age 14.

Without public media outlets, such as Twitter and Facebook, there would be less awareness of important causes that urgently need donations.  Social networking has created a platform where people feel comfortable displaying the causes that are dear to them to increase public awareness.

The popularity of Twitter alone makes it a perfect place for celebrities to promote their favorite charity without much effort using only 140 keystrokes.

With the busy lives of celebrities, Twitter is an easy money-giving platform where celebrities can entice followers to donate and help organizations without having to be part of a large photo-shoot or add campaign.

Some other non-profit organizations have caught on to the Twitter phenomenon and have begun to create their own verified accounts to help spread their cause. Some of these include the NOH8 campaign, Save the Children and the JoinRed to fight AIDS.  These              organizations have benefited greatly from the social media that is Twitter.

Today people question the validity of social networking, suggesting that it is a waste of time and what could one possible gain from stalking a celebrity.  The use of these networks for non-profit and charity purposes make up for any negative publicity they have gotten.  Without Twitter, several great causes would fall to the way side and become endeavors of the past.  With Twitter and other social networking media growing, non-profit organizations prepare for a future of increased donations and awareness as more people step up to end disease, hunger, poverty, and disaster.

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