Fundraising for a non-profit cause can be challenging for any good samaritan. With money being instrumental in raising awareness and creating successful events, finding cost effective ways to get your message to the masses can be a difficult endeavor. Thankfully, with the ever-growing online community, using social media to tell your story and educate the public can make any non-profit event both successful and meaningful. Nonprofits using social media may seem to be something that has been around for years, but new techniques and platforms have made it extremely effective for those that do their research beforehand. In New York, the Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley has harnessed social media to promote events like “The Ride for Pride,” a gay rights awareness biking fundraiser that raised over $22,000 for the Gay Alliance in 2013.

There is no doubt that nonprofits using social media can increase awareness, event participation, and the impact of their message. The GAGV has done this through Facebook, their website, and websites like FirstGiving, that allow participants in nonprofit events to tell their story, and get the message out to their friends that they are fighting for a cause near and dear to their hearts.

Next time you look into participating in a nonprofit event, think about all the tools the internet can provide you with. The best benefit of nonprofits using social media, is the the fact that 99% of the time it is 100% free. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, FirstGiving, Instagram, and other social media tools we use everyday for personal uses can be used for a much greater cause.

CURE Childhood Cancer Association, a nonprofit organization, used Alex and Ani Rochester, NY to host an event that had a percentage of its sales go to the organization. Not only does this help the organization, but also benefits the company hosting the event. CURE promoted heavily on Facebook which we came across in our research. “ When nonprofit organizations use Facebook to promote Alex and Ani Rochester’s hosted events, they seem to be more successful,” said Gabrielle Soto, Alex And Ani Store Manager.

Tools like hashtags and social sharing buttons allow those fighting for nonprofit causes to extend their reach, and raise awareness nationally and globally. Next time you’re participating in a nonprofit event, spark interest and awareness by using tools you use everyday for enjoyment and social reasons. We all have a nonprofit cause that we are passionate about. Take a look at all the nonprofits using social media in your local area. The free techniques they are using may allow you to make a meaningful impact that will effect the lives of people you share a story with.