Twittering Gets Charity On The Social Network 2009: Rod Liddle

Twittering gets charity on the social network

Rod Liddle Where am I Sometimes it seems like the whole world is busy facebooking, youtubing and tweeting.
So it’s no surprise that the not-for-profit sector wants to join in. But can social networking really benefit charities or is it just another fad The Australian actor Hugh Jackman may be an expert at setting hearts a flutter, but he recently got the charity sector hot and bothered with a promise made via his Twitter page to donate $100,000 to the favourite charity of one of his followers. Several British charities, including Macmillan Cancer Support and Bullying UK, vied for the money and although the cash was eventually split between two US based organisations the story demonstrates the impact that microblogging and social networking sites can have on the not-for-profit sector. “Social media sites can bring people closer to charities,” says Jonathan Waddington, a charity champion from JustGiving. “For example, by creating videos about their work on YouTube or putting photos on Flickr charities are reaching out to people in their own space.” JustGiving processes donations and reclaims Gift Aid for member charities, via the web. The organisation has helped 6,000 charities raise £370 million, mostly through online fundraising pages. Social networking is a huge part of Just Giving’s success – an application developed for Facebook has been downloaded by nearly 300,000 people, with 100,000 downloads in the last month alone.
Helen Buxton, the digital project manager of the NSPCC’s e-fundraising team says the organisation uses Facebook to raise awareness of the charity. “The beauty of social networking sites is that they are a really quick and easy low cost way to engage with supporters,” she says. As well as an official Facebook page, there are several unofficial NSPCC pages on Facebook. “There is a danger our message will get distorted, yes, but we do monitor what is being said,” says Buxton. And she points out that unofficial sites can reach out to more supporters. “On Facebook there’s an unofficial NSPCC page called Stop Child Abuse which has 250,000 members. That’s brilliant, because we can go to the page’s owner when we want to talk about a fundraising initiative or campaign, and she messages her supporters.”

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