By Rheba Howard
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Four-Square, YouTube, blogs, public forums. There is more than one way to connect with and keep in touch with friends, acquaintances and family members. Throughout the past decade, social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives and how we interact with others. You might have a friend a thousand miles away and know what’s up with them without ever actually speaking to them. Not only have these social media tools become a way to share opinions and current trends (Instagram anyone?), but they have also become a platform for raising awareness, drawing attention to specific needs and inspiring others to do the same.
Donating and gifting funds are the newest trends in social media. This is old news for FFA. During FFA Week, FFA asked its members and alumni to post pictures of themselves in their FFA jackets in support of FFA. Past National FFA President (2006-2007) Beau Williamson used the request on Facebook as a way to celebrate FFA Week and to give a special gift.
Williamson posted a picture of himself in his FFA jacket on his Facebook page at the beginning of FFA Week along with this: “Happy National FFA Week!!! Time to celebrate premier leadership, personal growth and career success. In spirit of this week I issue a challenge to the Facebook nation… I will donate $1 to FFA for every like this photo gets! So get to liking and I challenge my fellow FFA’ers out there to issue the same challenge and give back to an organization that has given us so much!”
Through his network on Facebook this post received 751 likes, not including those who commented separately and liked his other comments. Williamson’s gave 751 dollars to FFA, and because his employer – Elanco Animal Health – has a matching gift program, his total donation will be over $1,500.
When asked about why he chose to donate, Williamson replied, “I believe we are called to be good stewards in life. This is part of me giving back to an organization that has given so much to me. I was very surprised by all the people who supported this. It was very cool to see.”
This is not the first time someone has used social media to donate to FFA. You may recall the RAM Super Bowl commercial, “So God Made a Farmer.” RAM used the power of social media to develop interest for agriculture and to raise awareness about their donation to FFA. Thanks to millions of viewers RAM met their goal to reach 10 million views on their website, and they donated one million dollars to FFA. Friends of friends told friends of friends to like and share the video from the RAM website. The 10 million views didn’t even include the hits and shares the commercial got on YouTube or how many times it was posted and shared on Facebook, Twitter, and even Pintrest.
Thanks to our sponsors and donors who think outside the box, awareness and support for FFA continues to increase. Through the uses of social media and modern technology, a broader and more diverse audience can be reached, thus showing the impact one person or company can have for an organization. So, like National FFA on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or make a donation yourself and harness the power of social media to make a positive difference. Thank you to Beau, RAM and our numerous supporters for helping FFA continue to grow and build young leaders for the future.