COM0015 – Post #2 – Strong and Weak Organizations

An Example of Social Media Used Well


One of the best uses of social media I’ve found is by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals  (OSPCA).

Social Media Logos used by OSPCA

The OSPCA regularly uses a wide variety of digital media.

This not-for-profit in the Newmarket area is using a variety of platforms to extend their reach on many levels. Social media icons, linked to each platform, are featured prominently on the website. The platforms used are:

  • Instagram: 1.5K followers
  • Facebook: 46K followers
  • Twitter (OSPCA main): 17.9K followers
  • Twitter (OSPCA Events): 1.4K followers
  • Twitter (OSPCA Careers): 849 followers
  • YouTube: 880 Subscribers
  • LinkedIn: 0 connections
  • Google+: 126 followers

OSPCA also creates regular website blog posts and podcasts to engage their audience, give them more information, increase volunteerism, adoptions, donations and general awareness.

Frequent and regular Facebook and Twitter posts are used to drive traffic to the blog and “pawdcasts” housed on the website and the YouTube channel. Posts are varied containing links, images, clear calls to action, contest information (post a picture of your pet) and engagement posts such as voting polls in third party fundraisers. Instagram is used to its fullest extent with many pictures of cute animals to be adopted. Some OSPCA YouTube videos have thousands of views. The only platforms that do not seem well used are Google+ and LinkedIn with little information, no followers and no posts. Maybe these accounts have just been created.

There is a professional communications department at OSPCA with many years of experience in all facets of digital marketing, which probably explains their excellent use of all digital media. I liked the OSPCA’s website and use of social media so much that I applied for a communications position at OSPCA in the past. Unfortunately, my resumé must have dropped into File 13, as I was not contacted for an interview! Oh well, onward and upward I hope.

Social Media in Need of Development

Inn From The Cold Logo

Inn From The Cold (IFTC) is another not-for-profit organization in the Newmarket area. There is no formal communications department in this small organization. Recently, a social media coordinator has been hired to expand IFTC’s social media presence. The website is new. In-kind work and funds to create it were recently donated by a digital marketing agency and Canadian Tire in Newmarket. Tiny social media icons appear “below the fold”. These could easily be missed and should be more prominently displayed near the top of the page. The social media platforms are:

  • Facebook: 731 followers
  • Twitter: 258 followers

Because the development of social media is in its nascent stage, there is currently no formal strategy other than to post information on Facebook and Twitter about how followers can support IFTC. Posts focus on thanks for sponsorship, community meal volunteers, and retweets of Coldest Night of the Year, an upcoming event benefitting IFTC.

Newmarket is a very spirited, caring and tight community, so there is potential for an expanded social media presence to help IFTC gain supporters, volunteers and donations.

Objectives include increasing engagement (likes, comments, shares), increasing the variety of post types as well as increasing event registrations, sponsorships, and financial support. A standard template thanking sponsors is currently over-used. This is becoming thoroughly boring and could discourage followers from reading IFTC’s posts.

To further develop the use of social media, IFTC needs to find information that would be more interesting to its followers. Links to articles about homelessness, more images of service to guests, and engagement posts, such as polls should be developed. There is no blog on the website. If a qualified, committed blogger could volunteer to write engaging and informative articles, plus volunteer profiles and guest success stories, these could be posted on social media to drive traffic to the site and help achieve IFTC’s objectives.

If you have any suggestions for how IFTC’s social media presence could be improved, please let me know in the comments below!

COM0014 – Target Audiences

One of our goals at Inn From The Cold in Newmarket, Ontario, is to increase the number of volunteers and donors supporting the organization. The Board Chair and I have been providing a PowerPoint presentation to community service groups over the last few months and have been well-received.



Hopefully these presentations will translate into the support we need. However, it’s hard to find groups that will have us. I’d like to know more about how to approach similar groups in a way that will make them welcome us as presenters.


So my target audience is charitable community service groups in York Region, Ontario, usually consisting of tight knit groups of people. People in these groups are individuals with an interest in:

  • giving back
  • community development
  • social activism

Reflecting on this group and incorporating what I know about our existing volunteer and donor base, as well as the attendees at previous presentations, I expect this group to have the following demographic characteristics:

  • married
  • middle class
  • even split of male/female
  • 40 to 70 years old, may be retired and have grandchildren
  • member of a Christian faith

In researching the target audience, I checked a few platforms. A search for homelessness on WordPress reveals that there is a huge interest in the topic. I had my eyes opened while searching because of this blog, which provides some insight about a specific audience I hadn’t previously thought of – the LGBT community.

Further insights came from Facebook pages: The Homeless Hub (an Education Website) and Raising the Roof (a non-profit organization). Either of these sites could be a good place to become engaged to increase our presence on social media and reach the target audience.

Homeless for 10 yrs

Raising the Roof has conducted a successful online campaign to create an awareness about homelessness. One of their YouTube videos, in which homeless people read mean tweets, currently has over 1.3 million views. There is a great deal of engagement in the comments, so this may be a good place to begin an effective conversation as well.