Social Media & NGOs: Crossing Boundaries & Building Bridges!

Can social media help Non-Governmental Organizations achieve their humane goals and reach their charitable objectives? How could social media be utilized efficiently and effectively in order to promote noble causes and humanitarian concerns? Could social media negatively harm the messages that NGOs try to spread throughout the world?

A Brief Introduction

In one of my recent posts, I discussed, in details, my thoughts about the great power that social media possesses in addition to my sincere faith that it has the ability to pave the path for world peace. The thought reoccurred to me yesterday in a rather different face and form: the power social media has to cross boundaries and build bridges especially in relation to the humanitarian causes that hundreds of NGOs peruse.

Jump on! Image By: Matt Hamm

Jump on! Image By: Matt Hamm

After the usual extensive research cycle every idea of mine needs to go through, I found myself able to list a hundred reasons why social media should be embraced by NGOs and how it could highly be benefited from in order to harness collective collaboration and bring about change.

Social Media & It’s Power…

We all know, for a fact, that the “new web” has transformed the way people interact and even the way they think! We also realize how social media platforms are now occupying a vital portion of many organizational and business strategies at different levels. Day by day, the need for utilizing these technologies for non profits is becoming more evident.

Social media platforms seem to have the ability to help NGOs through various ways, namely:

  • Providing various strategic tools for engagement.
  • Creating a means for building relationships with stakeholders and communities.
  • Promoting networking and fundraising.
  • Facilitating campaigning to a large, and sometimes even targeted, audience.
  • Allowing for more space to spread the word at a cheaper cost.
  • Reaching younger generations and having higher chances of getting them involved.
  • Transparently telling a story through sound and visuals.

Furthermore, and with the huge and steady increase in the numbers of social media users worldwide and across various platforms (PCs, Mobile phones etc.), social media has become an opportunity for non profits to share their messages with the masses using FREE tools available to support the vision and objectives of such organizations.

NGOs & Utilizing Social Media!

Regardless of the type, scope of work, mission or objectives of any given NGO, there exists a social media tool, channel or site that can facilitate and further enhance and perfect the process of spreading the word about the NGO’s project.

Here are some examples, from the top of my mind, of how social media can be utilized by NGOs:

  • Facebook pages, such as the ILO’s and IFC’s project’s page: Better Work.
  • Twitter accounts, such as Carped.org‘s account.
  • Mixx bookmarking, such as the NGOs stories bookmark.
  • Blogging sites, such as the IRC‘s blog.
  • Flickr accounts, to add related photos.
  • Youtube accounts, to add related video and clips.

All the aforementioned tools and channels have the power to capacity a more specialized exposure and an easier means of content sharing across the world.

Some Tips for NGOs on Social Media…

  1. Be sure to add your bio, objectives, mission and vision, whenever possible, on whichever site or channel you decide to join.
  2. Try to add a cause-related picture as your avatar. For example, if you’re promoting animal protection, add a picture of a pet or your logo.
  3. Spend time monitoring relevant issues and topics of discussion on different blogs and other social media venues.
  4. Communicate with other NGOs utilizing social media and try to build strong connections with them.
  5. Try to engage with your audience by assigning someone to represent you and your cause across social media sites.

To Wrap Up…

Finally, if some believe that the government can be influenced by social media, don’t you think people with no political agendas and diverse interests within more compassionate thinking can be influenced by messages communicated through social media?

Comments and Reactions

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ FadiPick

    Social media is the perfect tool for NGOs work. There are many people out there ready to spread out the word for a good cause. I think that engaging with the audience is the most important point.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com M.Bamieh

    NGO's and non-profits are usually understaffed and over worked and social media is usually a time and resource hog so isn't that time better used for actual impact and work rather than promotion ? though i understand the power of social networks but i believe it helps the volunteers and people on the peripheral to connect better than it helps the actual NGO employees and workers.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    Good point but I think social media has the power to cut through information clutter on some level and spread the word about certain issues way faster than the traditional means!

    Thanks for the feedback :)

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    [...] try to deny the power of social media and its ability to raise awareness for important issues and spread the word about various causes, but is that it? I mean apart from the privacy related problems and the work related concerns, are [...]

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  • http://twitter.com/Jiyoon_Choi JiyoonChoi

    What an interesting article! Your post was so helpful for finding social media cases in NGO sectors. I think non-profits need social media tools because they are usually “understaffed” and lack financial resources. Though I agree that social media maintenance is time-consuming work, NGOs promote their campaigns to targeted people for less expense. Given the fact that social media are participation, interaction and conversation – all important components of NGOs’ daily work – NGOs can easily reach potential donors, improve customer service or raise awareness of their brands by using social media. Here is another great blog post about how NGOs can improve their social media strategies. In this post, you can read what Clay Shirky, one of my favorite authors, thinks about the roles of organizations in social media strategies.

  • http://twitter.com/Jiyoon_Choi JiyoonChoi

    What an interesting article! Your post was so helpful for finding social media cases in NGO sectors. I think non-profits need social media tools because they are usually “understaffed” and lack financial resources. Though I agree that social media maintenance is time-consuming work, NGOs promote their campaigns to targeted people for less expense. Given the fact that social media are participation, interaction and conversation – all important components of NGOs’ daily work – NGOs can easily reach potential donors, improve customer service or raise awareness of their brands by using social media. Here is another great blog post about how NGOs can improve their social media strategies. In this post, you can read what Clay Shirky, one of my favorite authors, thinks about the roles of organizations in social media strategies.

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