Creating an Online Community Can Build Capacity for Nonprofits

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The Patterson Foundation and the Arthritis Foundation Florida Chapter leverage Facebook to build communications and financial capacity

We were innovative in our approach to this initiative in order to further the Arthritis Foundation Florida Chapter’s future efforts and build sustainable communications capacity.

The Patterson Foundation, a foundation that seeks to inspire others through innovative, collaborative and efficient philanthropy, recently leveraged social media to help the Arthritis Foundation Florida Chapter raise almost $50,000 and ultimately helped to inspire additional philanthropy through the creation of a new online community. The Arthritis Foundation Florida Chapter now has plans to incorporate Facebook into its strategic communications planning.

The Patterson Foundation chose to partner with the Arthritis Foundation Florida Chapter to honor the life of its benefactor, Dorothy Patterson, who lived with rheumatoid arthritis.

“We are so grateful for The Patterson Foundation’s interest in building our communications capacity through this generous Facebook donation,” said Anne Fair Forrest, president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation Florida Chapter.

To encourage online donations for the Arthritis Foundation Florida Chapter, The Patterson Foundation offered a unique challenge using Facebook. The Patterson Foundation offered to donate $10 per person, up to $50,000, for every individual who “liked” the Arthritis Foundation Florida Chapter’s newly created Facebook fan page.

The Patterson Foundation and the Arthritis Foundation Florida Chapter drove people to the fan page through an integrated communications strategy using traditional newsletters, email, Twitter and media partnerships to secure billboard, print and radio exposure. In just a few weeks, the Arthritis Foundation Florida Chapter had 4,810 new fans, and a total of $48,100 was raised. While the challenge fell just shy of its $50,000 donation cap, it proved that social media can be a powerful mechanism to further outreach programs.

“As we honor Dorothy’s legacy through our initiatives, we also strive to help inspire philanthropy,” said Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation. “Rather than merely donating $50,000, we were innovative in our approach to this initiative in order to further the Arthritis Foundation Florida Chapter’s future efforts and build sustainable communications capacity.”

About The Arthritis Foundation
The Arthritis Foundation (http://www.arthritis.org) is the leading health organization addressing the needs of the 50 million adults and 300,000 children living with arthritis, the nation’s most common cause of disability. The Foundation helps individuals take control of arthritis by providing public health education; pursuing public policy and legislation; supporting research and conducting evidence-based programs to improve the quality of life for those living with arthritis.

About The Patterson Foundation
The Patterson Foundation exists to inspire others through innovative, collaborative and efficient philanthropy. The foundation approaches its work through communications, finance, learning and technology, with an emphasis on collaborating with others to leverage resources and create New Realities. For more information, please visit http://www.ThePattersonFoundation.org.

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Heather Ripley
CAP Brand Marketing
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