Utilizing Social Media in Your Philanthropy Page

Social media has become a part of society. Nearly everyone has multiple social media accounts on the various platforms available. Businesses constantly research ways to reach consumers through  social media and what the best practices are to bring attention to their product. It’s time that philanthropies do the same. The millennial age group has a particular interest in philanthropy and they’re also the group that has the highest social media usage. By utilizing social media, philanthropies can attract more donations and volunteers and seriously advocate for their cause.


Do some research

Before ramping up your social media usage, research how best to approach it. Learn what your target age group is and the social media outlets they use the most. Check out other philanthropies that use social media and see how they do it effectively…and not so effectively. Decide which methods would work for your organization and then craft a plan. It’s important to approach social media in an organized manner so you can make significant progress.


Engage with your followers

If you want to really get a response to your social media pages, you need to engage with your audience. Once people start commenting and sharing posts, create a dialogue with them. Craft posts that encourage interaction from followers. Consider hosting some kind of giveaway or create a unique hashtag. You’re also likely to get messages and reviews from people, so make sure you’re engaging with those in a timely fashion. If the organization is directly contacted, try to respond within a couple of hours. This method gains you a reputation as a philanthropy that actually engages with those who are interested.


Post regular updates

When you first start utilizing social media, you’ll be updating regularly, but it’s important you remember to continue posting updates after the first few weeks. Consider creating a blog for your organization where you can post weekly articles and pictures. Without quality content and regular updates, your audience will become uninterested and it’ll be difficult to attract new followers. This point is why it’s so important to have a plan for your social media before you even start posting.


Add a personal touch

While you want to keep followers updated on news and events, it’s also important to add a personal touch. Delegate the role of managing social media to someone on your team who has significant knowledge and experience using different platforms. Work with them to craft your approach and what kind of content you want to share, then get to work. By having one person deal with the majority of the responsibility associated with updating the organization’s social media, you’ll create a recognizable voice for your social media persona. Make informal posts that let followers see behind the scenes and know who’s running your social media accounts.


Share pictures…lots of them!

Add pictures of your volunteers and employees, as well as the activities you do to help your cause. When the philanthropy has an event, take lots of pictures to share on social media and give followers a visual of who or what they’re supporting! Photos give your philanthropy authenticity and shows you’re actually working on accomplishing your mission.



Pairing Passion with Philanthropy

They say you should do what you love–what motivates you, what inspires you, what helps you become the best you possible. Though many people follow through on this advice, many more don’t. I’m lucky enough that I’ve been able to step into a number of professional roles that have allowed me to do what I love.


Outside of my work, I get actively involved with philanthropic causes that I support. And I don’t do it for the tax write-off or the ability to pat myself on the back. I do it because I’m passionate about helping others–and you should be too.


Getting involved with philanthropy is one thing. It’s easy to write a check. It’s easy to sign a slip of paper indicating that you want $25 from every paycheck to go towards helping…someone. It’s easy to make these sort of philanthropic donations that are written off, signed for, and done. You don’t know where the money is going nor who it’s helping. It’s another thing–a completely different thing–to really try to make a different. To find that philanthropy you’re passionate about. To find a cause worth helping, worth supporting, and worth your time.


I found my personal passions–helping children, funding educational endeavors and putting time and money towards causes like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through my personal life and experiences. These were people and organizations that I aligned with, that I truly cared and felt passionate about. Finding your own philanthropic passion helps to facilitate a more meaningful connection. So how do you do it?


The short answer is by researching. Find your passions and research how you can get involved–if you’re passionate about helping animals (as my father, Anatoly Vanetik, is), research animal shelters in your area. Then, coordinate some visits and find out how you can get involved. By finding an organization that allows you to pair your passion for philanthropy for your passion for what’s around you, you’ll find it more fulfilling, and perhaps even start an annual tradition.


In the end, a check coming from someone who only marginally knows and cares who he’s helping, and one from a passionate philanthropist looks no different. There’s no discernable variations between the two checks and, once cashed or deposited, the money will look the same too. The passion that you may or may not have for helping others is intrinsic, but moldable. Find what you’re passionate about and make a real difference. Donate, volunteer and reach out when you can. Helping those that you care about and finding your philanthropic passion will help form a mutually beneficial relationship that should last forever.

Do Awareness Campaigns Work?

At the peak of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge during the summer of 2014, it seemed like no matter where you turned someone was dumping a bucket of ice water over their heads for a good cause. In the name of raising awareness of the debilitating illness, people around the country–from you and your family to the likes of Chris Pratt, Oprah and Conan O’Brien–turned on a camera, hit record, and doused themselves in ice cold water.

Many were criticized for their efforts. The claims came pouring in left and right, saying that “awareness” wasn’t going to help anyone suffering from ALS, only monetary donations could help.

The truth is that, yes, you’ve more than likely already heard of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. You, and the good majority of the country are aware of the disease and the effects that it has on those unfortunate enough to suffer from it. Awareness, as it stands, is not typically an issue when it comes to diseases.

But as it turns out, awareness campaigns can–and often do–yield incredible results.

It was announced in July of 2016–almost exactly 2 years after the trend went viral around the globe–that a gene was discovered as a direct result of the awareness and subsequent increase in donations that resulted from the Ice Bucket Challenge. The huge influx of donations came thanks in part to the process of “nominating” other participants via video–if those participants elected not to douse themselves in water, they were asked to donate to ALS research instead.

Not all awareness campaigns are created equally, though. Awareness campaigns that have spread across social media platforms in recent years have been met with somewhat middling success. Multiple breast cancer awareness campaigns have flooded the Facebook feeds of millions of users in recent years. One that garnered a particularly high amount of attention came in the form of status updates containing just one word–a color. Seeing these pop up on feeds around the world lead many people to question why their friends were posting “blue” or “pink” or “black” seemingly without context. Later, it was discovered to be a breast cancer awareness campaign that asked women to simply post the color of their bra on social media without context.

The attention garnered from the campaign was immense, but that’s more or less where the productivity stopped. There was no donation-portion of the campaign, an important distinction from awareness campaigns like the Ice Bucket Challenge, which asked people to donate if they were nominated but opted not to participate.

While some awareness campaigns are effective and potentially life-changing, others have yet to solidify just how they plan to go about making that important impact. Without proper planning and execution, an awareness campaign can come and go, leaving little more behind than a status update that says “blue.”