I believe that social media can greatly benefit non-profits and I try to find an organization each week that is using the promise of social media tools. This week I would like to compliment Invisible Children on their proactive use of social media.
Invisible Children, which started from a 2003 trip of three guys from Southern California, uses the visual nature of the Internet extremely powerfully. The organization uses the documentaries filmed in war-affected east Africa to make the point about the terrible price that children pay as victims and soldiers in this war. The documentaries are intended as a starting point for long-term engagement with the region.
They have a strong website and use Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. Invisible Children won the $1 million Chase Community Giving award in 2010 with 123,990 votes. There was controversy around the structuring of the contest and voting process, but in the context of this spotlight, there is little doubt that Invisible Children made an all out push to establish a support network in the Facebook community. That is proof positive that they have a good grasp of the power of social networking.
In the case of this organization, the YouTube and Vimeo usage and the effective integration of podcasts to tell their story is particularly noteworthy given that Invisible Children is all about combining “film, creativity and social action.” Their blog and use of Livestream all serve as reminders of the power of vlogs in telling a story.
My one recommendation for Invisible Children would be to give some attention to ranking high on Google search for key words such as “children,” ‘non-profit,” “donations” and “war.”
Invisible Children is a relatively new non-profit that has shown that early and effective adoption of social networking can help reach a large audience quickly. I think of them as offering a lesson in online advocacy because of the way they have used their documentaries to engage people far removed from the reality of Uganda.
Here is wishing them continued success in getting their message out to the world at large!