The internet continues to be a rather new phenomenon that individuals and organization still struggle to properly exploit. Obviously, the internet can be an extremely valuable asset when it comes to strengthening a firm’s reputation, yet it is also the sharpest of double-edged swords to ever exist while getting noticed is another major issue. Unfortunately, strategies for addressing the cultural force, which is internet, are incomplete and must be developed as we learn how to cope with the influence of the worldwide web. This means learning how to utilize both traditional and internet media assets to raise community awareness is important to all nonprofits.
Charities often heavily rely on the public for financial reasons while all nonprofits need the support of the communities in which they operate. Accordingly, the internet opens up a whole new world of possibilities for charitable causes. From fundraising to awareness, the worldwide web can introduce individuals to a beloved charity. Unfortunately, the internet is so large it is easy for organizations to get lost. Consequently, tactics may vary and organizations can partner with many different websites, but efforts to use the internet to benefit a particular nonprofit must focus on getting noticed.
Probably the best way of being noticed on the internet is to build a social network. This is why social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace are often used by organizations to drum up support while services like Youtube, Flickr, and Twitter help charities stay in contact with their supporters. The problem is that everyone and everything has an account for these web communities and important causes are far too often lost in the chaos that is the social networking universe. On the flips side, the Haiti earthquake disaster of 2010 resulted in a massive fundraising effort through the internet and the use of texting donations. The reason is that the media struck a cord of sympathy with donors at the right time while organizations made giving easy.
Regrettably, it is rather difficult to identify upcoming trends or major influences that will generate scrutiny by the media or impact an internet community enough to generate a wave of support for a particular mission. Charities, therefore, must be in the right place at the right time in order to take advantage of a sudden spike in interest. Then again, it is also important to recognize the populous nature of the internet and media in general by seeking out the support of celebrities and “web celebrities” in order to draw attention to a nonprofit. Meanwhile, the networking format of many social sites enables charities to build and expand their own networks.
Of course, networking strategies can be rather unreliable, wasteful undertakings that quickly disinterest web communities. It is simply not enough to have an account on a social networking site or be listed as a favorite charity of a celebrity. Like email forwards, few people enjoy following links, because web users are constantly searching for immediate satisfaction and searching for a charity is not particularly interesting. As a consequence, charities cannot simply post links to their websites on their profiles then expect success. Charities need to use their contacts and spikes in public interest to launch funding raising campaigns and propaganda when and where people are watching.
On the other hand, accessing the internet and building support through social networking is rather cheap; free from the perspective of using these sites. It is, however, important to remember traditional forms of media are useful and, potentially free, for nonprofits. The limited nature of the local news or newspaper translates into a well targeted audience. The result is a far lower probability of the nonprofit’s message going unheard. As such, using traditional media sources in conjunction with internet tactics ensures an audience can be attracted to a nonprofit’s internet marketing and offer a base of support that can be expanded. Moreover, generating awareness involves using traditional and internet media to gather support and build social networks.