This post is a little long but if you really want to help change the world and use your marketing and social networking skills then read on.
While the post is long, the conversation is definitely one that you can contribute to and where you might just help save someone’s life next time such a tragedy occurs (bush fire or other).
At time of writing, at least 750 homes have been destroyed across Victoria and 3733 people have registered with the Red Cross after evacuating their properties. The number left homeless is expected to be far higher, the Red Cross has said.
The social media space is hot on the situation. news.com.au reports that “on Facebook a number of groups have been set up to support the victims’ families, the Country Fire Authority (CFA), and communities under threat from blazes burning across the state. The most popular Facebook group is one titled “Applaud the CFA heroes & empathise with the victims of the 09 Vic bushfires” and has 4861 members as of 4.38am (AEDT)”
"Just give a thought to the CFA and a Buck or 2 if you can. Even a Lamington. Cause those people are working in Hell," said MySpace user Gonzo.
It is fantastic, that as usual, Australians (many of whom must be doing it tough in the economic climate) have been so generous with donations of money and goods. This support is essential to help families rebuild their lives.
Only a few weeks ago a colleague of mine, who is a CFA volunteer, told me that their local brigade is in membership deficit. He asked me if I thought social media could help their local brigade attract more members, particularly young adults. I told him that I was sure it could but not sure exactly how but that I would give it some thought.
So how can social media help? Well we all know that prevention is better than cure. The reality is that the current donations and support treat the symptoms. Will the fact that social media is being used result in more donations? Probably not. Hope I am wrong.
We also know that many organisations that carry out important community work are lacking in volunteers. I am going out on a limb here but would hazard a guess that many of those existing volunteers, such as those in the CFA, are drawn from non-marketing backgrounds and may not know what else to do to attract young volunteers other than conducting letter box drops and open days.
If that is too much of an assumption, and you know otherwise, please contribute to this conversation and let us know what others have done to attract volunteers, particularly young adults.
I have a few ideas myself but I don’t want to lead the conversation any more than this post. If you have an idea, please comment, don’t be scared that it might not be a “perfect” idea because it may just get others thinking about how to refine it. Also, don’t limit your thinking to the CFA and the current situation. Offer ideas that any volunteer organisation might be able to use.
So, the question I want to ask you is “How can volunteer organisations use social media to attract volunteers, particularly young adults?”