Homeless youth

Homeless youth
People we don't see.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Did you hear what happened in Tunisia?

I am writing this post from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's annual Creating Change conference in Minneapolis. I am literally surrounded by activists.

Personal promo: If you're at Creating Change, please join me for my Fundraising for Free! workshop at 9am on Friday.

In the past several days, my eyes have been glued to whatever newscast I can watch regarding the protests in Egypt. As an activist, I am heartened by what I see. I also watched the protests in Tunisia, and the subsequent departure of their president. It seems that it all started with an unemployed graduate student setting himself on fire after being harassed by the police about his food cart. Within days, thanks to the use of Twitter, protest marches never seen before popped up in Tunis, the capital city. And they grew.

Tunisia. Egypt. Creating Change. Activism. Changing the world. Fundraising fits right in.

This week I am going to begin a several-post writing about social media. The Wikipedia definition of social media is: media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media use web-based technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue.When I think of social media I think of Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and even our monthly email blast. I use all of these to fundraise for free! (you knew I would fit that in somewhere!)

This post will be the first of many in which I write about my experiences using social media to fundraise for our agency (and other groups). We have had great success with all of the formats I just mentioned, and I honestly believe that any non-profit can support their fundraising efforts with social media.

There are many opinions about social media and all the platforms for social media. For this blog the ideas I share will always be ones that have worked for us in fundraising. I definitely urge you to have conversations with those you're fundraising with in regards to which methods would work best for you. I also ask that you keep an open mind about social media and allow you (and your fundraising effort) to have your own personal experience with social media. I promise there is something for everyone when it comes to social media.

Before I break down all of the methods we use, I would like you to take a moment and decide what you want to get out of social media. Do you want to put your brand out there more? Do you want to promote an event? Do you want to start an urgent action communication, or an advocacy platform? Who do you want to connect with, and why?

I ask all of these questions because social media to me is all about relevancy. Do people actually read my email blasts? My tweets? Do people who respond to a Facebook event invite actually show up, or do they take action if the Facebook posting is an ask to take action?

Think about all of this and stay tuned as we start Fundraising for Free using social media!

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