It’s that time of year when we think more about giving back, both as individuals and as people involved in small business. Here’s a fun and easy way to “give back” and to involve customers, employees, and social media fans.
1. Choose a charity. Don’t over think this too much. Choose something that your business has supported in the past, ask your employees to make suggestions, or even ask your fans in social media to provide their favorite charities. Wondering if the charity you’re thinking of supporting is legit? Use Charity Navigator to vet the health and legitimacy of the charity in question.
2. Write a blog post about the charity and why your business is supporting it. Then, at the end of the blog post commit to a certain dollar amount for every re-tweet, blog comment, Facebook like etc. that you get. (You define the rules, so just be clear.) Set a time limit (two weeks is usually good). Don’t have a blog? Then create a page on your website that discusses your holiday give-back initiative.
3. Promote, promote, promote.
- Talk it up throughout all of your social media portals. If you’re on Facebook, include links to the blog post. Tweet the blog post. On Pinterest, you could create a board with images from the charity and then you could include a link to your blog post in the board’s description. Create an image showcase on Tumblr. You get the idea.
- Invite all your employees to participate and to promote it as well through their own personal social media accounts.
- Be sure to have a call-out on your home page that links either to the blog post or the page on your site that discusses what you’re doing.
- Add it to email signatures.
- Do a special announcement to all of your customers through your email newsletter.
4. Involve other businesses and create an even bigger splash. This could work well for businesses that work together in a networking group. A group of three or four businesses running the exact same social-media-for-charity event could end up giving an even bigger donation to the charity (and you can share resources – the bulk of the blog post can be used on all of your sites). Hint: this type of effort could land you and the other businesses some positive press in local publications.
This is a great and easy way to give back, raise awareness about a special cause, involve your community, and promote the fact your business is doing something charitable this holiday season (without being obnoxious about it).
But, of course, it’s not the only way to use social media to raise funds for charities. We’re impressed with the innovative way charity: water has gone about raising funds. People pledge to give up their birthday. Instead of asking friends and family for presents, people ask their loved ones to make a donation to charity: water on their behalf. The money goes directly to projects that support bringing clean water to the nearly one billion people who don’t have access to it. As of the writing of this blog post, over 16,600 birthdays have been pledged so far.
Have you used social media for charity? If yes, share what you did in the comments. We’re always looking for interesting ideas. And you never know – we may blog about it in the future.