We all know that social media plays a large part of our lives and the lives of everyone around us. In just two minutes, word of a new device from apple, or a tragic earthquake in Haiti can be spread across the web- straight to people’s mobile devices, twitter and facebook pages. In a recent article on prweekus.com, I saw something that caught my eye; the words “social media” and “fundraising” used in the same sentence. The article, titled “Social media plays key fundraising role in wake of back-to-back earthquakes,” by Kimberly Maul, talks about the large role of social media and text messaging in our society. “As consumers become more comfortable with donating through nontraditional methods and see results from their text-message donations, PR professionals in the digital and nonprofit space are following the trend,” (Maul).
Funds were set up to accept donations through text messaging in the recent Haiti and Chile disasters and this has been very successful. The article by Beth Kanter, on her blog “Five Social Media Fundraising Trends for 2009,” she writes about the successes of twitter as well; ” TweetsGiving, raised $11,000 to build a classroom in Tanzania using Twitter to spread messages of thanks and opportunities to donate. More importantly, the event was one of a series of social media fundraisers that offered evidence that Twitter and other social media tools were not just a passing fad.”
So, how can PR utilize this? In order to promote awareness for a cause, a PR professional can easily post information about this cause on facebook/twitter, and the client can also gain funds through this same portal. For example, The Red Dress Campaign, for the American Heart Association that aimed to target women and inform them about heart disease and their heart health could, have also accepted donations through social media sites and/or texts from those who wished to support the cause.
It makes sense that for a tool such as social media, which is so effective in reaching mass audiences, that it could be equally effective in raisng funds for a worthy cause. PR professionals can bring both awareness and funds for their clients’ causes.