The Role of Social Media in Helping NGOs

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Article authored by: Mr. Siddharth Ladsariya, Founding Volunteer, Young Volunteers Organisation (YVO)

Social media has gained prominence over the years. Digital presence is as significant as the brand identity itself. Whether it is a small business, a company, a conglomerate, or an NGO, everyone has a presence on the world wide web. 

Social media has been an excellent opportunity for many people and businesses to reach out to a world other than their family and friends. It has also played a significant role in helping NGOs talk about their causes, connect with supporters and find donors. Digital platforms are interactive and enable organisations to engage with their audiences directly. 

Why NGO’s need Social Media?

The internet and social media are powerful means that can be used to raise awareness about social causes, events and volunteering opportunities. According to nonprofitsource.com, more than 80% of millennials and 49% of Gen Xers donate through online forums. These millennials are inspired by social media and prefer to use the platform to help or donate. It is the easiest and hassle-free for most of them.

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With technology becoming easily accessible to the younger generation, NGOs find it easier to use social media channels to spread their messages of goodwill and kindness. Social media gave it a personal touch which was challenging to deliver through letters and emails. Now, NGOs have a direct way to reach out to their donors and volunteers with whom they can communicate instantly and also answer their queries. The digital platforms also allow these NGOs to keep their followers, donors and volunteers updated on the programs, workshops and initiatives.

The Data Speaks for Itself

As per the Open Data Project Hub and Global NGO Technology Survey conducted in 2021, 87% of nonprofits across the globe use social media. 

97% connect with their audiences via Facebook, 73% via Instagram. Twitter accounts for 60%, while LinkedIn and Youtube contribute 48% and 45% each. 

The one platform that saw a downhill was WhatsApp which went down from 28% in 2019 to 16% in 2021.

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The impact of Social Media

With over 2 billion users, Facebook is undoubtedly an effective tool that can bring about a change in society. Information is just a click away in this technology-driven world. It is imperative to have a digital footprint on every social platform. It is a great way to build a young community to garner support, raise awareness, recruit volunteers, invite donors and use social media.

Funds are the fuel that keeps NGOs running. Young Volunteers Organisation (YVO) ran a Covid-19 Fundraiser during the second wave. Funds raised were utilised to help children who had lost their parents to Covid-19 continue their education. Another significant portion of the donations was used to support those families who had lost their breadwinners. 

The fundraising campaign was run across platforms like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. YVO successfully raised over INR 1.18 crores under this initiative. 

The Advantages and Challenges

Social media for nonprofits comes with its advantages and challenges. Organisations often depend on small teams and volunteers to run the show. It means limited resources and wafer-thin budgets. The ever-changing algorithms and the plummeting organic reach can sometimes hurt. Using social media well and effectively requires a lot of effort and planning. A thorough understanding of the platforms and how they function is essential. Building a digital presence takes time and patience. Consistency is the key and high-quality content is the way forward. NGOs must focus on creating relatable and share worthy content to help them build a sustainable community.

There are several tools and resources that are now available specifically for nonprofits. However, one must also know how to use these tools well to their advantage.

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Bridging the Gap

Social media helps you bridge the gap between donors, volunteers and NGOs. That is why it is crucial to connect with the audience, who would eventually become a part of the community. Communities are essential for NGOs to thrive and do meaningful work. In turn, the increased awareness has led to a rise in philanthropy among people. People, in general, have become more empathetic about issues and social causes. It has become more accessible and a rewarding experience for many as they can see the change they bring about through their donations. 

Siddharth Ladsariya is a successful entrepreneur, philanthropist, angel investor and an enthusiastic mentor. He has been actively investing since 2008 and has invested in over 150 start-ups till date. Siddharth is the Founding Volunteer of Young Volunteers Organisation (YVO), an Indian non-profit organisation that started in 2015. YVO is an organisation that acts as a facilitator between young working professionals and thoroughly researched NGOs, and aims to empower the underprivileged sections of Indian society. Siddharth also founded Everest Fleet Pvt. Ltd., a fleet management company in October 2016, which is now one of the leading players in the fleet market, with a fleet of 3500+ cars, operating in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi and Hyderabad and is a trusted partner of UBER.