Health Care Organizations: Setting the Awareness Standard on Social Media?

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October 22, 2012; Source: MedCity News

MedCity News recently highlighted health-related nonprofits that are using social networking to ramp up support and awareness. Some of the social media models they shine a spotlight on could be adaptable to many nonprofits looking to social media to promote their cause.

An interesting trend we’ve seen emerging among health care organizations and foundations is the use of celebrities and comedy to attract donations. For instance, Malaria No More, which provides people in malarial regions of Africa with mosquito nets to combat the spread of the disease, teamed up with CollegeHumor.com to offer “Malarious videos” which are video clips of celebrities behaving absurdly, and includes comedic actors such as Rainn Wilson, Rachael Harris, Aubrey Plaza, and Nick Offerman, who performs slam poetry about bacon. To view the 24 celebrity videos, users must make a donation here; the donation can be as small as $1.

A New Zealand charity, Cure Kids, which supports research on life-threatening illnesses affecting many children, recently collaborated with the comedic band Flight of the Conchords to raise more than $1.3 million via a satirical charity song, “Feel Inside (And Stuff Like That).” The band released a video for the song on YouTube, drawing on humorous quotes from children they interviewed. Starting a discourse about fatal or currently incurable health conditions can often be dark terrain, so lightening the mood a little bit in one’s donation campaign may be a beneficial tool, as evidenced by the campaigns of Malaria No More and Cure Kids.

Taking a very personal approach to social media, the Diabetes Hands Foundation’s BigBlueTest campaign encourages participants to test their blood sugar levels before and after exercise and then to post these results to Twitter or Instagram. Cancer charity LIVESTRONG’s social media voice, Brook McMillan, advises nonprofits that, no matter what you say or do on social media, you should say or do it in your own distinct voice, “not a stodgy, corporate voice.”. –Aine Creedon