First it was the internet, and now it’s social media that has altered our lives to an extent none of us might have ever imagined. We have attached such a kind of reputation to social media that your absence from it labels you as being an unsocial, outdated, or old generation.
Until a decade ago, social media was mainly used as a means of communication. But now, it is a platform to introduce and market businesses. For instance, when Facebook was first launched, we all used it to connect with friends and families. But, now Facebook is used more to market businesses and engage clients. If you visit the official website of any brand or business you will find Facebook as one of the ‘connect with us’ options, and the same is true for other social media platforms as well such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube etc. The need for social media presence is not only felt by the business sector but by the not-for-profit organisations too.
Since, not-for-profit organisations or NGOs need the support of the civil society, it becomes a prerequisite to reach out to the mass. Here, social media plays a very significant role. If tapped well, social media can generate tremendous support for NGOs by spreading the cause in a limitless manner. Most NGOs – national and international, have realised the power of social media, and hence uses it strategically and creatively to garner support from the mass. One such NGO in India is The Akshaya Patra Foundation. It is a mid-day meal NGO headquartered in Bengaluru with operational units in 36 locations across 12 states. Currently, the Foundation is providing mid-day meals to more than 1.7 million children on each school day.
Akshaya Patra stepped into the social media arena around 2012. Currently, it is present on several social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google Plus.
With over – 10,000 followers in Twitter
1,700,275 followers in Facebook
More than 15,000 followers in Instagram
2,790 subscribers in YouTube
The Foundation uses these platforms to share NGO news and events, share videos and photo albums, run campaigns, update supporters of recent developments and the like. The Foundation also uses blogging as a means to involve supporters with its cause. The NGO blog includes various organisation -specific topics such as events, interviews, organisational highlights etc.; child-centric topics such as food, education, health, skill development; along with global topics such as environment, child labour and the like. By far, social media presence of Akshaya Patra has helped the organisation to get identified easily, interact with supporters present across the globe, run campaigns successfully, and garner tremendous support.
In conclusion, social media has opened up numerous channels for NGOs to reach out to people. If NGOs approach the social media avenue in a planned and strategic way, it has the potential to expand its cause manifold.