Photo: Charity Water Facebook Page
Great example of Charity Water showing donations support on their Facebook Page

This is a holiday of mixed emotions. It’s exciting to light the candles on Hanukkah, spend time with my coworkers at the tree in Rockefeller Center and experience my son’s first Christmas. But at the same time, I feel the need to give more than I ever have before. As a Connecticut resident, the people of my state have been hit hard by tragic events over the past few months. The holidays are a time for charitable giving and there are many ways to participate.

To find ways to help my local community and beyond, I went to social media. The social web packs more information than the elves on Christmas Eve. Here’s how I used social to give during this season and hopefully you’ll be inspired to do the same.

Superstorm Sandy

The American Red Cross has a Digital Operations Center which monitors social media conversations around the clock. They can pinpoint issues before they escalate and provide relief and aid quickly. Moreover, they have useful ways to help including:

Text to donate

Easy online form

Give blood

To give directly to Sandy victims, specify “Disaster Relief” in your donation.

Sandy Hook

There are hundreds of articles on the Sandy Hook tragedy, but if you’re like me, that’s the last thing you want to read. I went to social media for ways to donate and help and there are some great resources.

My Sandy Hook Family Fund – donate to the families

The Stir, Cafe Mom Blog – list of places to donate

Emilie Parker Fund – Facebook group to raise money for the family who lost their daughter in the shooting

Lost Pets

Recently I used Facebook to help a neighbor get their dog back, and there are other great examples of social media helping this effort. Here’s some examples.

LinkedIn Groups – an example of using a LinkedIn Group to get Buckeye the Yorkie back home

Facebook ads – a story of how a coworker got his cat back with Facebook ads

Local Facebook groups – how my fellow dog park members helped a dog come home

Innovative Charities

Many charities have a similar approach: give once and you get an annual reminder or direct mail piece asking you to give again. But some organizations have a new way of doing things. Give up birthday, host an event, see how your specific dollars helped the cause, and the list goes on. Check out these innovative approaches to donations.

Heifer International – Buy a goat, chicken or many other animals for an impoverished community. See the stories of how you’ve helped.

Charity: Water – Fund wells in communities without running water and see the break down of how donations are utilized. They include lots of way to donate including giving up your birthday. I saw their director of digital engagement, Paull Young, speak about their social strategy. For them, it’s about storytelling. Check out these examples.

Whether you’re wearing your business hat or Santa hat as you read this, you can be inspired this season to use social media to give or even create programs of your own.


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