One misconception many organizations have is that if they sign up for Facebook and Twitter accounts the younger generation will come pouring in. On one hand, they are right. On the other hand, they are wrong. Using social media is a great way to raise awareness about your United Way and it enables the 18-24 year old age group to be informed about upcoming events. But, using social media does not mean you will suddenly see an increase in donations from the younger generation.
If you are thinking your United Way will receive donations from the younger generation because you’re being “cool and hip” by having a Facebook or Twitter account, you are sadly mistaken. The younger generation will not be moved to donate to your United Way because you are involved in social media. What they WILL be moved to do is volunteer for your United Way, granted you provide them with appropriate and timely information.
If used correctly, Facebook and Twitter are wonderful marketing and conversation tools. For instance, if a community member has a comment or a question, they should be able to post on your United Way’s wall or tweet to your United Way and get a response back fairly quickly. If your United Way posts or tweets out that volunteers are needed for a project in the community on Saturday, you should receive feedback back from the community quickly as well. It’s important to note that being involved with social media takes constant upkeep though; there is no set-it and forget-it with social media. An active account is a great way to be present in the community, while communicating your cause.
Facebook and Twitter are great tools to help get your United Way recognized among the 18-24 year olds, and to get them involved with your United Way by volunteering. While they may not be ready to donate to your United Way, they will be willing and ready to help out in the community by volunteering. By getting them involved, you will build relationships with the younger generation and they will become informed about what it is that you do, which will eventually lead to donations in the future. While donations should not be expected by having a social media presence now, you will gain donations in the future by creating and building relationships with the younger crowd.