With reports that over one millionpeople were actively using social media while watching election coverage, it is clear that social is becoming not only a resource for information and a means of disseminating a message in real time, it is becoming an inherent part of every cause. This year's election set social media records, securing Obama with a second term and maybe more importantly ' a social media victory. In just a few short hours, the President's tweet became the most popular message of all-time on Twitter, knocking Justin Beieber out of the number one spot. As of Wednesday morning, that single tweet garnered 654,836 retweets and 222,405 favorites. While Obama and Romney may have had a team of qualified social media managers supporting their presence, this presidential election validates that social media is an effective means of bringing people together in support of a cause, for free. Sandy may be one of the most recent examples of social transforming a tragedy into a social media storm. The word "Sandy" was mentioned 4.8 million times on various social-media sites after the storm according to Hootsuite. Those 4.8 million social media mentions encouraged thousands to extend support in the form of donations monetary and otherwise. Perhaps this validation is most exciting for those in the non-profits sector because you don't need capital to be successful. And while social media is no secret for such organizations, there are of course always ways to be more innovative and more engaging. Storytelling The most important part of a non-profit is the story. Facebook is an ideal channel to share your story and encourage your community to do the same. People are moved by what they read and express their love by commenting, liking, and sharing various posts. It is critical to establish this bond with your organization in order to drive engagement, build an active community and ultimately increase charitable donations. #Thanks Twitter provides a real time forum for sharing updates from an event that allow people to feel an actual connection to what's happening. Non-profits can connect on a deeper level by sharing how the contributions of a specific donor made a difference. It generates a personal connection and encourages others to want to make a difference as well. Pin It It's human nature for users to connect with visual imagery, so what better channel than Pinterest? Create boards unique to your cause and encourage users to share their own images of volunteer work on your boards. AMP is seeing the power of social and non-profit right here in our office as images of co-workers with creepy mustaches surface on Facebook in support of Movember. Be sure to check them out and find out how you can donate to the cause.
For the past week it feels like every day I've encountered new ways to contribute to the relief efforts for the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Today, I made my tiny difference. I put forth $44.60 as I shopped at my favorite (that's an understatement) fast fashion retailer ' Forever21. The Forever21 brand is donating 100% of every dollar spent on Forever21.com today to the earthquake and tsunami relief efforts. We're used to hearing that a percentage of proceeds will go to a cause, but when was the last time you heard that a brand would give up everything it earned? Forever21 has broken the mold when it comes to bringing fashion trends from the runway to the real way, and now the brand is breaking the mold again with a powerful model of giving. Millennials ' Forever21's most frequent and valued consumers ' are looking for strong, solid relationships to be built between themselves and the brands they buy. Millennials will support brands that tackle a cause and make a difference based on ideals similar to their own. They praise brands who position themselves authentically. "What you see is what you get" is a must in this generation's mind. Brands that profess to understand who Millennials are and what they want, fail. Brands that do understand these things, succeed. Millennials love brands that just 'get them.'? Today Forever21 'got'? me and four of my Millennial coworkers as we bought fashion that will support Japan. We pooled our purchases to reach the free shipping mark ' $50 of merchandise ' and spent $96.98. We donated almost $100. Frankly, that's awesome. Today, Forever21 really is forever. It doesn't get more authentic than that.