Fundraising on Social Media
In the summer of 2012 Marwa Al Mubarak discovered the truly social side of social media
The author, Marwa Al Mubarak, is a Junior Project Manager at Flip Media, Dubai.
Two years ago, the question “what I thought of social media?” would have elicited a one-dimensional answer. To me back then, social media was a convenient and inexpensive medium to stay in touch with friends and professional contacts in an increasingly globalized world.
However, the summer of 2012 marked a watershed moment in my perception of social media. That year for the first time I experienced social media as something that goes above and beyond merely facilitating networking and communication. It gave me an insight into the undisputable ability of social media to generate both, opinion and cash for a cause!
That summer, I set out on two humanitarian projects – the first in Ghana to help setup water sanitization businesses in local villages and the second in the West Bank where I aspired to create a swimming program for 15 girls living in a refugee camp.
Both projects required funds to the tune of US$3000 in order to achieve the stated goals. While fundraiser events remain one of the most preferred means to raise money for social causes, they have limitations. Only family, friends and well-wishers in the neighbourhood and thereabouts can attend and donate at such events.
Hosting fundraising events help me accumulate no more than 30% of the funds but a vast majority of the money was raised through my online campaigns on popular crowdfunding platforms, Crowdrise and Indiegogo, which I shared and promoted extensively on Facebook and Twitter.
While fundraiser events had a localized impact, I was able to share my online campaigns with friends and friends of friends and reach out to a much larger community of donors not restrained by geography.
Along the way was an unexpected and pleasant surprise that reinforced the way social media has transformed our world into a truly small, seamless place – I traced an anonymous donation for US$1000 to a removed aunt’s acquaintance! Donors love sharing their philanthropic deeds and social networks don’t want to appear heartless.
In conclusion, while the increasing time spent on social media can be detrimental in the long run – time spent away from friends and family, reduced outdoor activity and other forms of real-world socialization are getting rarer due to the fixation with social media – I see it as an unparalleled platform to spread and encourage good deeds and ideas on a global scale. Time to hit that Like button!