Nonprofit organizations have realized that social media is a major influential platform to bring about awareness to important causes and issues. This push to make people aware through using digital images, videos, writing, etc. has been a necessary step to bring about change.
New media has come so far as to allow people to virtually see what it is like in other’s lives. For example, here is a video by daily vlogger FunForLouis where he created a 360 degree video
from Sierra Leon, Africa during their time of rehabilitation post an Ebola crisis. This video provides audiences with more than one perspective, and serves as an example of bringing awareness to other’s struggles in attempt to bring those struggling help.
Some nonprofits and organizations put their efforts solely into making people aware of important causes in hopes that change would automatically ensue. The truth is, there actually has to be an action to bring about change.
An example, from a social issue, would be educating the public on twelve signs of depression in an online article. Alone, this article, that brings awareness, would not assist the reader in seeking help. Yet, if this awareness article included links to resources for relief from depression, it would then be much more effective in bringing about change.
Creating awareness is the first and necessary step to bring change and help to others. The second step is actually doing something. So, how can media be a vehicle of relief and action for those in need?
For many, this change and relief comes through financial support and donations. Multiple fundraising platforms are emerging in support of bringing financial assistance to organizations and causes helping those in need. This coupled with the fact that the FCC has no regulation on those that can and cannot create social media platforms and websites has allowed for growth. This freedom works in favor of non-profit organizations that must address immediate crises through emerging media quickly.
Fundraising on media based platforms has broken down time and geographical barriers that stood in the way of bringing direct financial assistance, prior to this digital media age. These fundraising platforms are growing exponentially and many are taking notice. TheNonProfitTimes, released an article titled, “Classy Gets $18 Million In Class B Funding“, written by Mark Hrywna. This article highlights a platform called Classy that provides a service to non-profits with the necessary tools to create an online presence and build a campaign. In Classy’s case, those taking notice of the impact their online platform is having is, Mithril Capital Management, a technology growth capital firm. According to this article, Mithril Capital Management is made up of investors like Salesforce Ventures, Bullpen Capital, Venture51, Galileo Partners and Rethink Impact.
Classy’s reputation is direct reflection of why it was a candidate for investment. Since it’s foundation in 2006 and product launch in 2011, Classy has developed a client base of over 1,500, raised hundreds of millions of dollars, and runs over 300 thousand fundraising campaigns. Coupled with these numbers, Classy has a positive and principled mission statement that puts purpose, integrity, action, community, and perseverance first.
Platforms like, Classy, are assisting in eliminating some of the bureaucracy that has always came with fundraising for non-profit organizations. The focus that had always been put into the printing, mailing, and calling aspect of fundraising is shifting to media. Emerging media has allowed for nonprofits to be much more efficient and effective in relieving suffering in people’s lives. The results of this are that more people are being able to put their efforts into actually helping others rather than completely focusing on the paperwork stresses of fundraising. Thus proving that bringing attention to a crisis, as well as providing a vehicle, to raise funds, to bring a rapid relief to those going through crises is a very important step.
With Classy serving as an example of how emerging media is positively bringing about change, a result non-profit strive for, those creating public policy and emerging media thought leaders should take notice. Public policy in media should ensure the safety that these platforms are freely available to access, but not hinder those that are using modern media for good. Maintaining this balance in media will allow for awareness and positive change for important causes and issues.
Master of Arts in Emerging Media
Loyola University of Maryland