The gist: Use social media tools to promote and keep in touch with your favorite charity.
Giving money to charity is great, but sometimes you wish you could do more. If you don’t have much time to campaign or volunteer, that’s okay. There are still plenty of ways to stay engaged. Thanks to social media, it’s easier than ever to promote and connect with your favorite charity. Check out our top five ways to show your support without leaving your computer.
1. Share info on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus
The Internet makes it easy to share what you care about. Writing a Facebook status or Tweet might seem like a simple gesture, but the impact may be greater than you imagine. Link to the charity’s homepage or share a relevant article. Think about it this way: if you have several hundred friends, at least half of them might read your post, and some of them might even share it with their friends, who might share it with their friends. Chances are, if you find a message compelling, other people will too. Spread the word and see what happens.
2. Write a blog post
To describe your favorite charity’s work in detail, a Tweet just won’t cut it. Consider writing a blog post. For maximum impact, write about timely events, especially ones in which people can get directly involved. Is the charity hosting an event? Are they campaigning for a new law? Are they looking for volunteers? Even if you aren’t available to help, someone else might be.
3. Follow and subscribe
To get the latest updates on your favorite charity’s projects and accomplishments, be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to their email list. This way, you’re more likely to learn about special events, relevant petitions, volunteer opportunities, calls for urgent action and news. Most charities love to share information online. It saves trees and it’s much cheaper than sending snail mail.
4. Start or sign an online petition
People create thousands of online petitions every year. If you can’t find the right one, just create your own. Care2’s The Petitionsite and Change.org make it easy to search for causes, and sign and share petitions via social media. Online petitions are an effective way to spread awareness, and contrary to popular belief, they’re also capable of bringing about real change. To keep your spirits up, check out Change.org’s list of petition success stories.
For a direct line to the government, try the White House’s petition website, called We The People. If your petition receives enough signatures, it’s sent directly to the appropriate policy experts, who will issue an official response. If you’re really pressed for time, you can always try Act.ly, which lets you create a “Twitter petition”. Just type in the person or company’s Twitter handle, tell them what you want them to do in 140 characters or less, and re-Tweet. Simple!
5. Try your hand at virtual fundraising
Even a virtual fundraiser can bring in real money! Create a Facebook event in honor of your favorite charity and encourage people to donate money on a certain day, or organize a “Tweetup”. If you have a website, embed a payment widget for charity donations. Check your charity’s homepage to see if they have one for you to download. Payment widgets not only collect funds, but also provide basic charity information.