Charities Get Social to Gain Support for Those in Need

With the unemployment rate rapidly on the rise, and with over 300,000 more people in the U.S. expecting to lose their jobs in January, it’s going to be a difficult time for families across the nation.

After generating less than desirable outcomes, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have both served as proof that this holiday season is going to be a challenge for retailers and consumers alike. However, has anyone stopped to think how this is going to affect charities and non-profits who survive exclusively on donations?

How are they going to survive these economic hard times? Well, with a little creativity on their part, fueled by social networking on the internet, many charities are keeping the light aglow during this dark recession.

Social sites have proven to be helpful outlets for many charities, allowing them to easily manage and expand an online presence.

Facebook, for example, has a Causes tab that allows members to join and support a specific cause for no cost, although the option to donate is always available. When you support a certain cause,(ie: Aids/HIV Awareness), a virtual red ribbon is posted on your Facebook profile page to show that you support this cause. Additionally, you can post comments and send your friends invitations to join you in rallying for a specific cause.

Child’s Play, a charity that raises money for books, toys, cash and games for sick children in hospitals across the nation, has taken another creative spin in the virtual world. For a small donation, members of virtual community There.com can adopt a charity tree to help raise money for Child’s Play.

Rather than having to send people something tangible and costly for making a donation, this is a gratifying and fun way to be charitable. The names of people who adopt a tree will be posted on a sign that will stay in There.com’s East Charity Tree Park for the entire year, thanking and acknowledging people for their contributions.

According to Virtual Worlds News, this is the second year that There.com and Child’s Play have partnered together.

Another nonprofit philanthropy group, Universal Giving, has partnered with storytelling community Tokoni to spread the word about the virtues of “spending less and meaning more.”

The partnership allows people to share stories of charitable giving, with the intention that these stories will inspire others to do so:

In today’s economy, non-profits need our help more than ever. Even if you’re unable to make a financial contribution this year, you can still give an important gift. UniversalGiving has partnered with Tokoni to help you spread the word about charitable giving. Discuss your experiences as a volunteer, causes you believe in, or how you are giving back this holiday season. Inspire others.
Share your story.

It’s encouraging to know that despite the economic hard times, charities are still finding creative and innovative ways to earn money and raise awareness.

If you know of other charities and non-profits using social media to get the word out, please leave a comment.