There are two celebrity charities that are using Facebook very well as a means to promote their missions. Their Facebook pages are worth watching because what they are doing with social media are activities even tiny nonprofits, NGOs and government initiatives should be doing: using social media PRIMARILY to educate about their cause or mission, not primarily to talk about how desperate they are for funds. These pages also provide lessons for any celebrity that wants to front his or her own charity.
The two charities are the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and the Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls. Both are focused on the empowerment of women and girls. The Geena Davis Institute has the tagline, “Changing media to empower girls,” and the web site is www.seejane.org/. Smart Girls says, “We emphasize intelligence and imagination over ‘fitting in.’ We celebrate curiosity over gossip. We want you to truly be your weird and wonderful selves!” The Smart Girls web site is here.
Have a look at their respective Facebook pages: every post is somehow about furthering their initiative’s respective missions, and many of the links on the posts DON’T point to content created by the charities. Notice how many people comment on the Facebook pages – how most of the comments aren’t trolls – messages just to make people angry – but real attempts to offer insight on what is being posted (that means both sites do a good job of deleting inappropriate comments). Negative comments are not deleted – and often spark more discussion. And look how often the content of these Facebook pages is shared by Facebook users! That’s how I found out about these two organizations – because my friends kept sharing such.
Obviously, both organizations have paid employees or paid consultants that are monitoring the media for particular types of stories and monitoring comments. For a small nonprofit, I think this is a WONDERFUL task for a volunteer, not because “Hurrah, I don’t have to pay that person” but, rather, because it is an interesting, impactful micro task that many people would LOVE to do as a volunteer. Also, volunteers might be more daring in their suggestions for things to share on Facebook than a paid employee. Your organization can still have an employee serve as the Facebook page manager, and only she or he has control to post something, but why not invite Facebook posting ideas from ALL employees and ALL volunteers?
What celebrity charities do you think are doing a great job using Facebook or other social media, and why?