Keeping Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream Alive Through Social Media

This post is apart of the Nonprofit Blog Carnival, a monthly selection of posts that are of interest to the nonprofit community.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nonprofits spend every day living out Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s mission of dedicating their time to helping others. Social media has enabled nonprofits to take this one step forward by being able to give a voice to those who are marginalized. As users of social media, I believe that we should strive to live up to Dr. King’s goal of using our voices to speak out about the causes that our nonprofits focus on.

If Martin Luther King, Jr. was still alive, he’d without a doubt be the king of social media. In a time when Facebook and Twitter were nonexistent, Dr. King managed to move millions of people to demand social change solely through his powerful speeches and inspiring words.

If Dr. King, was still here with us today, I could easily imagine his infamous ‘I Have A Dream’ speech being shared on Facebook, retweeted on Twitter, blogged about on Tumblr and viewed by millions on YouTube. Fast forward to 2013 and it becomes incredibly clear that what Dr. King accomplished without social media was truly extraordinary.

Today, social media has completely transformed the way nonprofits connect people with their causes. Nonprofits can now increase their visibility online, while more actively engaging with their donors and supporters. Social media is a powerful tool, yet many nonprofits seem to avoid using it. In fact, according to a study done by Ventureneer in 2010, 40% of nonprofits avoid social media because they don’t see the value of it or because they don’t believe you can measure outcomes.

My dream for the nonprofit community this year is for nonprofits to execute more daring and audacious social media marketing campaigns. For example, I was particularly struck by a campaign done by UNICEF where they created a fictional Pinterest board for a girl named Ami. Instead of pinning expensive clothes or luxury homes, Ami pinned basic life necessities such as clean water, soap and shoes. This deeply moving campaign challenged our consumer driven culture, while raising awareness of poverty in third-world countries.

I strongly believe that Martin Luther King, Jr. would want nonprofits to use social media as a tool for leveraging our social networks to make a difference. This year, I’d like to encourage your nonprofit to think outside the box and create a social media marketing campaign that is powerful, creative and most importantly, a call to action for people to support your cause.

Whether you’re a hunger relief organization or an animal shelter, it’s important to remember that social media has the strongest impact when it is combined with action. If Martin Luther King, Jr. had not used his social connections to gain support for his cause, his movement would have never been as powerful. Ultimately, I hope nonprofits will continue to keep Dr. King’s dream alive by creating strong, thought provoking social media marketing campaigns in 2013.

How do you think Martin Luther King, Jr. would use social media today? How has your nonprofit been inspired by Dr. King? Feel feel to share your thoughts.

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