Telling great stories. 502 442 7914.

10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media

This post is a collaboration between Mashable’s Summer of Social Good charitable fundraiser and Max Gladwell‘s “10 Ways” series. The post is being simultaneously published across more than 100 blogs.

summerofsocialgoodnew

Social media is about connecting people and providing the tools necessary to have a conversation. That global conversation is an extremely powerful platform for spreading information and awareness about social causes and issues. That’s one of the reasons charities can benefit so greatly from being active on social media channels. But you can also do a lot to help your favorite charity or causes you are passionate about through social media.

Below is a list of 10 ways you can use social media to show your support for issues that are important to you. If you can think of any other ways to help charities via social web tools, please add them in the comments. If you’d like to retweet this post or take the conversation to Twitter or FriendFeed, please use the hashtag #10Ways.

1. Write a Blog Post

Blogging is one of the easiest ways you can help a charity or cause you feel passionate about. Almost everyone has an outlet for blogging these days — whether that means a site running WordPress, an account at LiveJournal, or a blog on MySpace or Facebook. By writing about issues you’re passionate about, you’re helping to spread awareness among your social circle. Because your friends or readers already trust you, what you say is influential.

Recently, a group of green bloggers banded together to raise individual $1 donations from their readers. The beneficiaries included Sustainable Harvest, Kiva, Healthy Child, Healthy World, Environmental Working Group, and Water for People. The blog-driven campaign included voting to determine how the funds would be distributed between the charities. You can read about the results here.

You should also consider taking part in Blog Action Day, a once a year event in which thousands of blogs pledge to write at least one post about a specific social cause (last year it was fighting poverty). Blog Action Day will be on October 15 this year.

2. Share Stories with Friends

twitter-links

Another way to spread awareness among your social graph is to share links to blog posts and news articles via sites like Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Digg, and even through email. Your network of friends is likely interested in what you have to say, so you have influence wherever you’ve gathered a social network.

You’ll be doing charities you support a great service when you share links to their campaigns, or to articles about causes you care about.

3. Follow Charities on Social Networks

In addition to sharing links to articles about issues you come across, you should also follow charities you support on the social networks where they are active. By increasing the size of their social graph, you’re increasing the size of their reach. When your charities tweet or post information about a campaign or a cause, statistics or a link to a good article, consider retweeting that post on Twitter, liking it on Facebook, or blogging about it.

Following charities on social media sites is a great way to keep in the loop and get updates, and it’s a great way to help the charity increase its reach by spreading information to your friends and followers.

You can follow the Summer of Social Good Charities:

Oxfam America (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube)

The Humane Society (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Flickr)

LIVESTRONG (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr)

WWF (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr)

4. Support Causes on Awareness Hubs

change-wwf

Another way you can show your support for the charities you care about is to rally around them on awareness hubs like Change.org, Care2, or the Facebook Causes application. These are social networks or applications specifically built with non-profits in mind. They offer special tools and opportunities for charities to spread awareness of issues, take action, and raise money.

It’s important to follow and support organizations on these sites because they’re another point of access for you to gather information about a charity or cause, and because by supporting your charity you’ll be increasing their overall reach. The more people they have following them and receiving their updates, the greater the chance that information they put out will spread virally.

5. Find Volunteer Opportunities

Using social media online can help connect you with volunteer opportunities offline, and according to web analytics firm Compete, traffic to volunteering sites is actually up sharply in 2009. Two of the biggest sites for locating volunteer opportunities are VolunteerMatch, which has almost 60,000 opportunities listed, and Idealist.org, which also lists paying jobs in the non-profit sector, in addition to maintaining databases of both volunteer jobs and willing volunteers.

For those who are interested in helping out when volunteers are urgently needed in crisis situations, check out HelpInDisaster.org, a site which helps register and educate those who want to help during disasters so that local resources are not tied up directing the calls of eager volunteers. Teenagers, meanwhile, should check out DoSomething.org, a site targeted at young adults seeking volunteer opportunities in their communities.

6. Embed a Widget on Your Site

Many charities offer embeddable widgets or badges that you can use on your social networking profiles or blogs to show your support. These badges generally serve one of two purposes (or both). They raise awareness of an issue and offer up a link or links to additional information. And very often they are used to raise money.

Mashable’s Summer of Social Good campaign, for example, has a widget that does both. The embeddable widget, which was custom built using Sprout (the creators of ChipIn), can both collect funds and offer information about the four charities the campaign supports.

7. Organize a Tweetup

You can use online social media tools to organize offline events, which are a great way to gather together like-minded people to raise awareness, raise money, or just discuss an issue that’s important to you. Getting people together offline to learn about an important issue can really kick start the conversation and make supporting the cause seem more real.

Be sure to check out Mashable’s guide to organizing a tweetup to make sure yours goes off without a hitch, or check to see if there are any tweetups in your area to attend that are already organized.

8. Express Yourself Using Video

As mentioned, blog posts are great, but a picture really says a thousand words. The web has become a lot more visual in recent years and there are now a large number of social tools to help you express yourself using video. When you record a video plea or call to action about your issue or charity, you can make your message sound more authentic and real. You can use sites like 12seconds.tv, Vimeo, and YouTube to easily record and spread your video message.

Last week, the Summer of Social Good campaign encouraged people to use video to show support for charity. The #12forGood campaign challenged people to submit a 12 second video of themselves doing something for the Summer of Social Good. That could be anything, from singing a song to reciting a poem to just dancing around like a maniac — the idea was to use the power of video to spread awareness about the campaign and the charities it supports.

If you’re more into watching videos than recording them, Givzy.com enables you to raise funds for charities like Unicef and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital by sharing viral videos by e-mail.

9. Sign or Start a Petition

twitition

There aren’t many more powerful ways to support a cause than to sign your name to a petition. Petitions spread awareness and, when successfully carried out, can demonstrate massive support for an issue. By making petitions viral, the social web has arguably made them even more powerful tools for social change. There are a large number of petition creation and hosting web sites out there. One of the biggest is The Petition Site, which is operated by the social awareness network Care2, or PetitionOnline.com, which has collected more than 79 million signatures over the years.

Petitions are extremely powerful, because they can strike a chord, spread virally, and serve as a visual demonstration of the support that an issue has gathered. Social media fans will want to check out a fairly new option for creating and spreading petitions: Twitition, an application that allows people to create, spread, and sign petitions via Twitter.

10. Organize an Online Event

Social media is a great way to organize offline, but you can also use online tools to organize effective online events. That can mean free form fund raising drives, like the Twitter-and-blog-powered campaign to raise money for a crisis center in Illinois last month that took in over $130,000 in just two weeks. Or it could mean an organized “tweet-a-thon” like the ones run by the 12for12k group, which aims to raise $12,000 each month for a different charity.

In March, 12for12k ran a 12-hour tweet-a-thon, in which any donation of at least $12 over a 12 hour period gained the person donating an entry into a drawing for prizes like an iPod Touch or a Nintendo Wii Fit. Last month, 12for12k took a different approach to an online event by holding a more ambitious 24-hour live video-a-thon, which included video interviews, music and sketch comedy performances, call-ins, and drawings for a large number of prizes given out to anyone who donated $12 or more.

Bonus: Think Outside the Box

blamedrewscancerSocial media provides almost limitless opportunity for being creative. You can think outside the box to come up with all sorts of innovative ways to raise money or awareness for a charity or cause. When Drew Olanoff was diagnosed with cancer, for example, he created Blame Drew’s Cancer, a campaign that encourages people to blow off steam by blaming his cancer for bad things in their lives using the Twitter hashtag #BlameDrewsCancer. Over 16,000 things have been blamed on Drew’s cancer, and he intends to find sponsors to turn those tweets into donations to LIVESTRONG once he beats the disease.

Or check out Nathan Winters, who is biking across the United States and documenting the entire trip using social media tools, in order to raise money and awareness for The Nature Conservancy.

The number of innovative things you can do using social media to support a charity or spread information about an issue is nearly endless. Can you think of any others? Please share them in the comments.

Special thanks to VPS.net

vpsnet logoA special thanks to VPS.net, who are donating $100 to the Summer of Social Good for every signup they receive this week.

Sign up at VPS.net and use the coupon code “SOSG”to receive 3 Months of FREE hosting on top of your purchased term. VPS.net honors a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee so there’s no risk.

About the “10 Ways” Series

The “10 Ways” Series was originated by Max Gladwell. This is the second simultaneous blog post in the series. The first ran on more than 80 blogs, including Mashable. Among other things, it is a social media experiment and the exploration of a new content distribution model. You can follow Max Gladwell on Twitter.

This content was originally written by Mashable’s Josh Catone.

Comments

  • Twitter Comment


    10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media|NowSourcing [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by nowsourcing (Brian Wallace) on July 14th, 2009 at 2:29 pm
  • Twitter Comment


    RT @nowsourcing 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media|NowSourcing [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by wholinkstome (Ryan Russell) on July 14th, 2009 at 2:33 pm
  • Twitter Comment


    via @nowsourcing: 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by SEOSnack (SEOSnack) on July 14th, 2009 at 2:38 pm
  • This a great post! Related to #1 and #2 is commenting on other people’s blogs. For example, I live in Minnesota and love our public radio, mpr.org. I’m hoping they’ll get some traffic from this little mention. Thanks for the entertaining post.
    .-= jlbraaten´s last blog ..The Top 8 Best Free Audio Podcast Downloads on the Web =-.

    posted by jlbraaten on July 15th, 2009 at 10:28 pm
  • Twitter Comment


    [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by PRIMITIVI (Primitivi) on July 16th, 2009 at 2:14 am
  • Twitter Comment


    Support Charity Through Social Media: [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by Position2 (Position2) on July 16th, 2009 at 5:37 pm
  • Twitter Comment


    RT @Position2: Support #Charity Through Social Media: [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by 999999Followers (999999 Followers) on July 16th, 2009 at 5:48 pm
  • Twitter Comment


    RT @vBSetup: RT @nowsourcing 10 Ways 2 Support Charity Through Social Media [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by jimogle (Jim Ogle) on July 17th, 2009 at 10:08 pm
  • Twitter Comment


    RT@vBSetup RT @nowsourcing 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by TopekaGreg (Greg Hill) on July 17th, 2009 at 10:11 pm
  • Twitter Comment


    RT @nowsourcing 10 Ways 2 Support Charity Through Social Media [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by Twittacause (TwittaCause) on July 17th, 2009 at 10:20 pm
  • Every way of supporting charity is good, so every new one sould be given a hug! Anyway using all those ideas to support some good purpose is a think that anyone should do!

    posted by gry dla dzieci on July 20th, 2009 at 7:14 am
  • Twitter Comment


    10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by MikeJohnsonite (Michael Johnson) on July 22nd, 2009 at 2:16 am
  • Twitter Comment


    RT @nowsourcing 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media|NowSourcing [link to post] For all of my non-profit friends

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by mstewartjericho (Michael Stewart) on July 22nd, 2009 at 3:14 pm
  • Twitter Comment


    10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media [link to post] (via @AdamChandler)

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by ThinkiMar (Professor iMar) on July 23rd, 2009 at 6:17 pm
  • Twitter Comment


    RT @AdamChandler: 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by justaskcorp (Just Ask) on July 23rd, 2009 at 6:32 pm
  • It is a good way to help a charity homes. Basically All the people’s are using to help the local organizations in their own methods. But Many of the people very scary to help the organizations through online. But your Article brings people to help the organizations which you mentioned above the 10 Valuable and useful methods.

    Thank you very much to your helping nature and also i have got some idea to help the charity homes through social media’s.. Keep it up for your helping nature forever.. — Phil

    posted by Phil on July 27th, 2009 at 7:39 am
  • Twitter Comment


    RT @CragerInc 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media – [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by PamelaGrow (Pamela Grow) on July 30th, 2009 at 8:51 am
  • Twitter Comment


    RT @CragerInc: 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media – [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by GetComfuzzled (Juli Audet) on July 30th, 2009 at 9:08 am
  • Twitter Comment


    RT @CragerInc 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media – [link to post] – some charities can use all the help they can get

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by DPH33 (Dave Harmon) on July 30th, 2009 at 9:33 am
  • Twitter Comment


    RT @CragerInc10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media – [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by gioias (gioias) on July 30th, 2009 at 9:34 am
  • Twitter Comment


    RT @PeterPek: 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media – [link to post] via @CragerInc

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by imvivienho (Vivien Ho) on July 30th, 2009 at 9:35 am
  • Twitter Comment


    RT @PeterPek 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media – [link to post] via @CragerInc

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by bittner (Dave Bittner) on July 30th, 2009 at 9:36 am
  • Twitter Comment


    10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media – [link to post] (via @cragerinc)

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by kelicain (Keli Cain) on July 30th, 2009 at 9:37 am
  • Twitter Comment


    RT @CragerInc: 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media – [link to post] – Please RT & get the word out. TY.

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by Angelamz40 (Angela Zimmerman) on July 30th, 2009 at 9:40 am
  • Twitter Comment


    RT @nowsourcing 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media|NowSourcing [link to post]- Great Ideas on making a difference!

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by CorineWofford (Corine Wofford) on July 30th, 2009 at 9:56 am
  • Twitter Comment


    RT @CragerInc 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media – [link to post] – Please RT & get the word out. TY.

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by JillChristopher (Jill Christopher) on July 30th, 2009 at 10:32 am
  • Twitter Comment


    Someone says: RT @PeterPek: 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media – [link to post] via.. #Charity #Nonprofit

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by CharityRT (CharityRT) on July 30th, 2009 at 10:58 am
  • Twitter Comment


    RT @CragerInc 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media – [link to post] – Please RT.

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by VictoriaHouseBk (Vicky Wells) on July 30th, 2009 at 11:33 am
  • Twitter Comment


    RT @CragerInc: 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media – [link to post] – Please RT.

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by DixieDynamite (Dixie Gillaspie) on July 30th, 2009 at 11:34 am
  • Twitter Comment


    RT @Cbusgivesback: 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media – [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by CRPcolumbus (CRP) on July 30th, 2009 at 2:15 pm
  • Twitter Comment


    RT @PamelaGrow: 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media – [link to post] – great ideas for your #nonprofit here

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by julieink (Julie Whelan Capell) on July 30th, 2009 at 2:31 pm
  • Twitter Comment


    Thank you to our followers! RT @Cbusgivesback: 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media [link to post] (via @VolunteerHoward)

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by lssco (Lutheran Social Svcs) on July 30th, 2009 at 3:22 pm
  • FriendFeed Comment


    10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media – [link to post] – Please RT. http://friendfeed.com/e/8b137c87-b341-4a54-83a1-8d18f374b463

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by cragerinc (Jamie Crager) on July 30th, 2009 at 4:16 pm
  • Twitter Comment


    RT
    CragerInc10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media – [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by cfiretweets (creativefire) on July 30th, 2009 at 6:33 pm
  • Twitter Comment


    Reading RT @CragerInc: 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media – [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by nschloesser (Natalie Schloesser) on July 30th, 2009 at 6:34 pm
  • Twitter Comment


    RT @CragerInc: 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media – [link to post] < -- Important stuff

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by JillChristopher (Jill Christopher) on July 30th, 2009 at 9:32 pm
  • Twitter Comment


    Great article! RT @SocialMediaMo @CragerInc: 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media – [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by artsypriscilla (Priscilla) on July 31st, 2009 at 12:31 am
  • Twitter Comment


    Useful tips for charities using social emdia RT @CragerInc 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media – [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    posted by jnbt (James Townsend) on July 31st, 2009 at 2:22 am

Leave Your Comment

Archive
Categories
Authors

NOWSOURCING

Get In Touch T 502 442 7914
howdy @ nowsourcing.com
NowSourcing, Inc.
9400 Williamsburg Plaza, Suite 140
Louisville, KY 40222
Sign up for our Newsletter

Check out our monthly newsletter. We won't spam you.