Obviously your organization is a local Chapter of one of the largest non-profits in the United States. How do you use social media to create awareness, fundraise and connect with donors locally?
We always use the line “this is YOUR Red Cross” to give people a sense of local ownership. Most of our stories posted revolve around what the local Chapter is doing and how we’re affecting the lives of friends and neighbors in Santa Barbara County. We are also big on providing pictures of what we’re doing – it gives people the opportunity to not just hear, but to also “touch” what we do everyday in their community.
It’s important for a Chapter to balance messaging for National projects or disasters with their own area. A great way to do this is through the stories of local volunteers who respond to National disasters. We can take these stories and share them with our local audience. It shows followers that the people in their community are talented enough to be responding to National disasters, so if anything happens at home, the best of the best will be responding. It’s a great way to blend the programs.
How does Givezooks help with those efforts?
I believe one of the greatest attributes of Givezooks is the grassroots fundraising tool. People now have an opportunity to not just give to the Red Cross, but to tell their friends, family, and colleagues what the Red Cross means to them – especially if their lives have been touched by our services. There is nothing more powerful than hearing a personal story. I think it helps that Givezooks is a local company helping local nonprofits. Santa Barbara County is extremely supportive of local business.
How do you unify that approach with the social media campaigns run by the National Red Cross?
Social media programs at the Chapter level and National level work incredibly well together. When there is a local disaster – which Santa Barbara County just experienced in May – National will post through their networks how people can get information via social media tools hosted by the Chapter. The same goes for the Chapters, if there is a national disaster, we will give updates and point people to follow the National accounts.