How are San Antonio nonprofits using social media? What's the value? A look at a handful of organizations who are using it and reaping benefits.
How are San Antonio nonprofits using social media? What's the value? A look at a handful of organizations who are using it and reaping benefits. By Donna J. Tuttle - Projects Coordinator, San Antonio Business Journal
Charitable organizations are....
outpacing the business & academic world in their use of social media.
In 2008, 89 Percent Of Nonproﬁts Were Using Some Form Of Social Media. - University Of Massachusetts Study
The size of the potential audience
✤ Twitter.com had 22.3 million unique visitors in March
2010, up from 524,000 a year ago, and that does not
include the millions more who use the service through
third-party smartphone and Web applications like
TweetDeck or Tweetie. According to comScore and an
article in the New York Times.
Blood & Tissue Center
✤ Collected 3,000 units of blood from 16-year-olds after launching a
social media campaign using MySpace.
✤ Used videos of the students, testimonials about their experience to
add rich content. Rewarded the students for “friending” and
“commenting” on the site with free giveaways.
✤ Appealed to donors after the Nov. 2009 Killeen shootings. Donations
increased by 30 percent and the blood bank was able to replenish its
San Antonio Food Bank
✤ Launched Facebook and Twitter accounts in Fall 2008 and began by
soliciting volunteers for its food sort-a-thon. By tweeting out, the
Food Bank landed helpers even for its less-than-popular nighttime
✤ Hired a social media coordinator and also identiﬁed a team of people
within the organization to post. Even chefs from the Food Bank’s
culinary program are using social media.
✤ When a corporate partner offers to match donations, the food bank
uses Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to get the word out to followers,
who then get the word out to their followers, and so on.
Fiesta San Antonio
Photo credit: <div xmlns:cc="http://creativecommons.org/ns#" about="http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/wattsbw2004/2462031231/"><a rel="cc:attributionURL"
href="http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/wattsbw2004/">http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/wattsbw2004/</a> / <a rel="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/
licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">CC BY-NC-SA 2.0</a></div>
✤ Started using social media last year and started with a Twitter and Facebook page.
✤ When heavy rains forced many events to be rescheduled, Fiesta used the immediacy of
the social media channels to update followers.
✤ Total Facebook fans have increased from 1,200 the ﬁrst few months, to almost 16,000
today -- an increase of 1,201 percent.
✤ Upload photo albums, Flip-camera videos, post photos, drive trafﬁc to event sites,
publicize events, and more.
✤ Digitally tagged areas where events are taking place so that Fiesta-goers can participate
in geo-locational social network games like Foursquare, Gowalla, Whrrl, and more.
Humane Society of SA
✤ Leverages the Puppy Cuteness Factor (PCF) and captures the
moments on video. Puppies practically sell themselves in YouTube
video. Also allows people to “window shop.”
✤ Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Humane-Society-Of-
✤ YouTube Page: http://www.youtube.com/user/sahumane : True joy
of puppy love.
✤ MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/humanesocietyofsanantonio
Bexar Economic Development
✤ Is using Twitter @BexarBiz to give the county audience an update on
economic development in the area.
✤ The Twitter stream is a combination of local economic news, mentions
of the county, city and state in national mediums.
✤ The “cause” isn’t as compelling as, say, giving blood or adopting a
puppy, but by offering interesting news and insight, it makes the
community more aware of the breadth of economic development.
✤ More than $32 million was pledged by Americans to help with Haiti’s
disaster relief — all through mobile phone texting. People texted
“Haiti” to 90999
✤ Through the Mobile Giving Foundation, in conjunction with large
wireless carriers like AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, a mobile text-to-
donate program is set up for nonproﬁts.
✤ At ﬁrst some customers were being charged for the text. Through
social media, people complained and the charges were waived.
✤ Other companies: mGive and Mobile Cause.
More on texting....
✤ More than 90 percent of Americans have a mobile phone and keep
it close by, a study by MobileActive.com reports.
✤ Nonproﬁts should use texting as part of a “multichannel
fundraising strategy that includes e-mail, Web, direct mail, phone
calls” and other social media.
✤ Texting is an efﬁcient tool for rallying volunteers for certain
projects. Sending reminders, fun facts, directions for the speciﬁc
✤ For years, nonproﬁts have tried to get their story out with meager, almost nonexistent
✤ They had to pitch reporters and rely on PSAs.
✤ Now, they have the power to tell their own story. The story about their cause, their
volunteers, their clients. In their on words. On their own terms.
✤ Check out how Solar San Antonio blogs with a team at mysa.com: http://
✤ Also check out Habitat for Humanity San Antonio http://www.habitatsa.org/
habitatBlog.aspx uses the blog to make announcements, explain programs and more.
Social Media is:
✤ Only an investment of time.
✤ Excellent at leveraging word-
✤ Is nimble. You can craft your
message anytime and push it
out on your own terms.
✤ Opens the doors to connections
without leaving your ofﬁce.
✤ Instant connections with
people who are your clients,
vendors and customers.
✤ The more you participate in
social media, the more the
name of your nonproﬁt shows
up in the online conversation.
This is all indexed. Meaning:
When the public searches
online, your nonproﬁt has a
better chance of showing up.
Advantages of using social media
✤ “Nonprofits can use social media to seriously
engage with their community, to get people to
emotionally invest in their efforts for mutual
benefit. That might involve more volunteerism,
perhaps better funding.”
✤ ~ Quote from Craig Newmark Internet Entrepreneur and Founder of the San-Francisco-
based website, Craiglist to the NY Nonprofit Business Examiner.
The ultimate ROI.....
✤ The true measure of social media is not in ROI (return on investment), but, rather in
ROR (return on relationship).
✤ People volunteer and give money to other people -- the cause is secondary.
✤ And so, by using Twitter, Facebook, blogging, texting and more, you are opening doors
to new relationships with people -- maybe the “sleeper” volunteers or the introverted
donors who are not comfortable at mixers.
✤ The end result: Social media is simply a conduit to meeting new people. These are tools
that make it much more efficient to connect.
Social Media Sites for Nonprofits
Aggregator for nonproﬁts using twitter: