“It is a Brand New Web, and it’s time to muster the courage to take the leap” (Mansfield, 2012).
March of 2012, a young woman marched into North Quad and told me (and around 50 other Michigan students) that social media was the reason that her organization, She’s the First, had grown so quickly.
I was thrilled. This was something I definitely knew how to do, felt comfortable at and truly enjoyed. As she pulled up the organization’s Facebook page, I watched her present our group with a challenge: to design a social media marketing plan that would take She’s the First beyond Web 1.0 capability (which Mansfield explains as the process by which one single message is broadcast to many) and into a world of global interaction, engaging community and an ever-increasing group of active followers.
Little did I know, I would end up spending a large portion of my summer volunteering at the She’s the First headquarters in NYC, pinning hundreds of new photos to the organization’s Pinterest page. By doing so, I acquired an even deeper understanding of who the organization is and what they’re trying to accomplish.
From the She’s the First Mission Page:
“She’s the First is a not-for-profit that sponsors girls’ education in the developing world, helping them be the first in their families to graduate. In the process, She’s the First fosters leadership and global awareness in young Americans, by inspiring them to lead creative fundraisers and correspond with sponsored students. Our efforts shape a rising generation of well-educated global leaders, future philanthropists, and cross-cultural communicators.”
The following picture was taken by photographer Kate Lord during a trip to a She’s the First partner school in Guatemala, Starfish One by One—the same school our University of Michigan chapter of She’s the First has chosen to sponsor!
One of the primary reasons I was so drawn to She’s the First as an organization was that they seemed to know Facebook and Twitter like the back of their hand. Unlike most non-profits I had been familiar with, their audience and donor base tapped into an extremely “unlikely” market: teenagers and college students in the United States. I don’t know about you… but college students are probably the last people I would ask to donate money.
So how do they do it?
And get their followers to RT.
And post on Facebook.
And get their followers to post on Facebook.
In sum, they’re up on the social media technology that their followers enjoy and are talented in using. Not only that, but they’ve also cultivated their own, unique voice online that speaks for the importance of girls’ education around the world… and they won’t stop tweeting until the whole world hears.
Over the next few months, I’ll be sharing my experience as a social media editor for our campus chapter of She’s the First as well as shedding light on what She’s the First does as a national organization that sets it apart from many other organizations. I’ll also be sharing updates to a very exciting project that I’ll be completing for She’s the First this Spring—more details to come!
Thanks for embarking on this journey with me, I’m sure it’ll be worth tweeting about!
Resources: Mansfield, H. (2012). Social Media for Social Good. The McGraw-Hill Companies.
She’s the First. (2011). Our mission. Retrieved from http://www.shesthefirst.org/about/our-mission/