Thursday, December 1, 2011

Social Media In Motion for Non-Profits

When we used to think of social networking we thought of all of these online profiles like Facebook and Myspace which have since expanded to Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ and so on. It was originally just social sharing among friends. It has since grown into an advertising tool for businesses with business pages and targeted marketing ads.

This newer evolution of social media platforms has been great for marketing. It’s been an asset for many businesses who have invested the time to market effectively through these online tools. Companies have used the platforms to add a personality to their business, target their audience, reinforce brand awareness and gain invaluable feedback from customers.

So now we know social media is great for socializing with friends and we have also found a lot of great ways to use it for advertising, but how else can it be used?

Recently I witnessed something that made me realize just how powerful social media is. Social media was successfully used to raise money for a local non-profit.

Tarantella’s Pizza Alley, a local pizzeria in the Montgomery community, often hosts fundraising nights where they donate a portion of the sales to a local charity. November 16th was a fundraiser to support Boy Scout Troop 31 of Walden, NY. Five o’clock hit and the doors were almost instantly flooded with customers, the phone ringing off the hook. Employees scrambled to take care of everyone as fast as they could, but were still being overwhelmed with the unexpected flow of customers through the door.

It didn’t take long to figure out what had happened. Customers started presenting coupons at the cash register, which were sent out through Facebook and e-mail saying “Come Support Troop 31”.

Being the computer-savvy techies that today’s youth tend to be, they took the initiative to upload these coupons to their walls in the form of a picture and tag all of their friends in it. Under the coupon was a caption that said, “Print this picture and come to Tarantella’s to support my troop”. We have all had the Boy Scout or Girl Scout at our door with a candy bar or box of cookies and just could not say no. They have now figured out a way to get into our e-mail, onto our computer screens and into our smart phones.

This successful marketing campaign, via social media, created a huge benefit for everyone involved. Troop 31 was able to raise a ton of money to support their program and Tarantella’s was able to reach potential customers it may not have been able to reach otherwise.

Kudos to the scouts for schooling the professionals with a great way to use social media! And, to Tarantella’s as well. In the three years they have been doing these fundraisers, on November 16th Troop 31 more than doubled the largest amount of money raised in one fundraiser night.

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