29 July 2013

Why WFP is Making a Facebook Push to Raise Awareness

The World Food Programme (WFP) is the largest humanitarian organization in the world. It manages to feed 100 million people in 80 countries every year.

The folks at WFP need a lot of money and support to do their life-saving work. Social media like Facebook has been touted as a tool to get just that - money and support.

World Food Programme
As we noted a while ago, UNICEF Sweden crafted a clever campaign on Facebook that urged supporters to skip the 'like' button and just make a donation. The WFP is also using Facebook to raise awareness and money - but with a twist to UNICEF Sweden's approach:

"You will NOT feed this hungry child by liking the World Food Programme on Facebook," reads the latest campaign.

"...but our partner Royan DSM will."

Social media has its limits, explained WFP Social Media Editor Justin Smith to Humanosphere. The problem is that many campaigns were designed without taking the limitations of social media into account.

"The euphoria about social media’s potential to solve the world’s problems has faded," said Smith. "That’s probably a good thing, because it wasn't realistic. But it’s given way to a scepticism about whether online activism can achieve anything meaningful at all."

The donation from Royal DSM, a science and health company that works on nutrition, is an important part of the new campaign, but the heart of the effort is to raise awareness and grow support for the global hunger problem. No matter how well the campaign does, Royal DSM committed to provide at least 40,000 meals through WFP. Donations will continue if the campaign works and people like the WFP Facebook page.

WFP believes that getting people to like it on Facebook provides a point of access for their work. Staff and partners with WFP are on the frontlines of crises around the world. Smith says that the Facebook page is a place where stories and pictures are shared. The people who like the WFP Facebook page will see these updates on their timelines creating another point of interaction between an individual and WFP.

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