Social Media And Causes: A Match Made In The Cloud

Causes are contagious. When friends and family get involved in causes and share their enthusiasm, it’s tough to not jump on board, or find a cause of your own. Over the years, through athletic events, fundraising parties, pet walks and the like, causes have also become social. And raising money for a charity is a lot easier when you have fun doing it among peers. 

Social media is also contagious. Networks grow because they are easy, available tools that keep people connected, sharing and hopefully, having fun. It’s a no-brainer that charities should use social media to promote their mission with a wider goal of recruiting volunteers, participants and donors. And most non-profits already have compelling visuals that help tell their story -- perfect content for social networking and sharing.

If you are a non-profit, you should at least be on Twitter and Facebook by now. Both social sites have a place in a well-considered content strategy. But, have you looked beyond those two?

A lot of people are talking about Pinterest, and for good reason. This social networking site has a unique feature — a virtual pinboard interface — that allows users to share and pin images of brands and people (and causes!) they like. TechCrunch just posted an article about Pinterest traffic, based on data from Shareaholic. Starting at the beginning of the year, Pinterest traffic surpassed Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined. And soon after, it topped Twitter traffic for the first time. Currently, Pinterest traffic is passing Google Referrals, Bing, Twitter & StumbleUpon. This impressive traffic has greater value when considering that Pinterest can be more powerful than the others, because it is based on interest and not social connection. You can post and repin based on topics of interest rather than from someone’s profile alone. In addition, Pinterest (along with other networks) can improve search and should be looked at as an additional tool for SEO. 

There are some non-profits successfully using Pinterest now to promote their missions. With this network, it’s easy to illustrate how your charity is making a difference locally or globally. Mashable featured a blog post on this topic highlighting 10 non-profits who are using Pinterest effectively. Here are a few:

  • Amnesty International pins fair trade, inspirational quotes and a human rights reading list
  • NRDC pins animals (We Love Whales!), green wedding ideas, and holiday inspired themes (Best Animal Dads and World Water Day)
  • Operation Smile pins patient stories, photo of the day, and New Smiles! (Before & After shots)

These are great examples of content that users will want to share (repin), helping to spread your mission to the masses. Be inspired by other non-profits and consider how you would tell your story on Pinterest. It’s a great way to spread the word about your cause and inspire a growing social community to share it with others. Sometimes being contagious is a good thing.

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