• October 1, 2014

How Foundations Can Use Social Networks to Support Movements

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The Case Foundation seeks to use social networks to connect people who are interested in the causes the fund supports.

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The Case Foundation seeks to use social networks to connect people who are interested in the causes the fund supports.

A small but growing number of foundations are relying on social networks to advance their missions and promote conversations about the causes they care about.

The Marguerite Casey Foundation, for instance, uses Facebook to start discussions with its grantees about topics such as poverty, and it turns to Twitter to encourage similar discussions among government leaders and journalists.

Its goal is to use those networks to mobilize people to address poverty in America, says Suphatra Laviolette, who manages the foundation's social-media efforts.

At the Case Foundation, Michael Smith, senior vice president of social innovation, says the philanthropy seeks to use social networks to connect people who are interested in the causes the fund supports. 

It also uses social media as a key component of the Case Giving Challenge, which attempts to help nonprofits raise money and win visibility.

In the latest episode of Social Good, a Chronicle podcast about how nonprofits and foundations are using social media, host Allison Fine talks to Ms. Laviolette and Mr. Smith about these and other efforts by foundations to into social networks.

Allison Fine, a nonprofit leader and expert on technology and communications, discusses how charities and foundations can more effectively use social-media tools to spread their messages and raise money. Ms. Fine incorporates suggestions and questions from readers into her podcasts and invites you to e-mail her at afine@demos.org. Look for new installments on the first Thursday of every month.

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