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What’s the point of social media for Nonprofits? Ask John.

November 19, 2009

As someone who uses social media for my job at Phoenix Rescue Mission, I am often asked, “What’s the point?” I usually respond by talking about building community and making connections with people… to which they politely smile and nod. 

This is just one story of what the “point” really is for us at the Mission. 

One of our clients, John, recently became certified in respiratory therapy. He was excited to begin, but needed a set of scrubs and a lab coat in order to start. I know we have a generous online family, so I posted a status update on Facebook:

“We’re so proud of our client, John who just received his Respiratory Therapist Certificate! He needs scrubs and a lab coat to get started. Email me if you can help. -Debra”

In less than twenty minutes, I had an email from our Fan, Mark, saying he wanted to help. When I told him the sizes needed he responded, “I’m in.” It turns out Mark works near a store that sells scrubs at Arizona Mills and he was willing to get whatever John needed. I was blown away at how quickly it all came together.

Our staff made arrangements for John and Mark to meet at our Frozen Turkey Sunday Open House. Mark ended up bringing not one, but three sets of scrubs and a beautiful white lab coat. He and John took some time shaking hands, talking and then saying a prayer together before Mark had to go.

John was over the moon, the smile literally did not leave his face. He kept telling me how amazing it was to have somebody take the time to get him what he needed and to come to meet him. He tried on the lab coat and the smile got even bigger.

“Now all I need is a stethoscope, but I think that will come too,” he told me as he posed for a few pictures.

One Comment
  1. November 20, 2009 4:32 am

    Tremendously heart-warming story.

    Social media marketing (or outreach) is a must for any organization (non-profit or not) that wants high leverage, low-cost digital tools to spread the word about their mission, message and offer.

    Thanks for a wonderful illustration of how powerful it is for an organization to have a few thousand digital friends – or just one!

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