Friday, 6 April 2012

Social Networking and Charities

Dogs with Wings is a locally based charity that trains dogs to assist people who are somehow impaired in their everyday functioning. Guide dogs, assistance dogs, therapy dogs,  and autism dogs are just some examples of the vast array of jobs these dogs can accomplish. Dogs with Wings came into one of my classes in the fall semester, and they talked about who they are, what they do, and why they do it. The organization essentially runs on committed volunteers as it is volunteers who sign up for a puppy, care and nurture it, as well as train them to become service dogs. Two different volunteer puppy-raisers came in and talked about how rewarding their work is and how much they enjoy what they do. This really sparked my interest and I would love to volunteer for this organization when I am more independent and able to properly accept the responsibilities that come along with it.

Although at this point in my life I would be an unsuitable puppy-raiser, I did look into the organization and gather some background information on their goals and values as a charity. Upon doing so, I was browsing their website when I saw they had both Twitter and Facebook accounts! Naturally I started following them and wow was I ever impressed! I know I should not judge a book by it's cover, but Dogs with Wings is relatively small as far as charities go and aside from the presentation I received in class, as well as my own research, I have never heard or read anything about the charity! Nothing in newspapers, on the radio, in the morning news...nothing! And now I know why! Dogs with Wings has chosen to make their mark through social media! And after checking out both their Twitter and their Facebook accounts, I must say that whoever is in charge is doing a good job of it. Their twitter feed is regularly updated and lets people know about information sessions they hold, where you can meet and greet the organization, and what kind of volunteers they need at that point in time. I liked their twitter feed as it updated not only the charities current status, but also posted links to other websites that had mentioned them, pictures of the different dogs, and when they ARE on the morning news (I guess I wasn't tuned in at the right times!). What a difference! Keeping up with the charity and it's on-goings is so much easier now and so quick! It takes less than 60 seconds of my time in the morning to read what they have been doing most recently or what their future plans are.

As for the Facebook profile, although I check it less often, I find that their Facebook page to be such a positive community, bringing people together who have common interests. Twitter is better for quick updates on the actual charity but the Facebook page is nice because it facilitates networking within the community.

Dogs with Wings' Mascot! What a cutie.
Image retrieved: April 9, 2012 from Dogs with Wings

After checking out both of these social media sites and how Dogs with Wings utilized them, I have to say that social networking, such as Twitter and Facebook, are amazing platforms that allow for real-time updates and help bring people together. I am so thrilled that Dogs with Wings uses these forums as I can now stay up to date with them and get to know the organization even better. A blog post recently done by a classmate of mine, Alyssa Coulombe, talks about how social networking and the horse industry are integrated and work together. She is a horse owner so Twitter and Facebook allow her to connect to real people and organizations for questions, event/competition information, health concerns, and general information! Whitemud Equine Centre and Spruce Meadows are just a few of the organizations that social media allows her to stay in touch with. To read more about it, check out her blog here: Social Media and the Equine World

Hopefully one day I can take more involved role and be able to volunteer my time, but for now being able to keep up with where they are at in terms of daily activity is great. Thanks Twitter and Facebook for allowing me to keep my interests closer at heart!


  1. That's really good to see smaller organizations successfully marketing themselves using social media. Their use of twitter seems like a good example of how twitter can be professionally viable. Twitter and Facebook are excellent ways for someone like myself to learn more about this organization, something which I probably would otherwise been ignorant of.

  2. Hi Lauren! I also had never heard of Dogs with Wings until they visited out class last semester. Although disseminating their organization through social media is a very effective way, they should perhaps reach out to the public through the conventional methods as well (newspaper, news, radio etc.). If we had not heard of them before, it might mean that they are not taking advantage of all the other methods in which to spread the word. If Dogs with Wings reached out through both conventional and modern methods, they should be able to broaden their reach. But that is just a thought. Either way, you have done a great job linking your passion to this class and I have learned something new today!

  3. With the price of advertising being obscenely high (such as radio or television advertisements), it`s refreshing to see that smaller non-profit organizations have a way to put themselves out there using social media. Using older methods such physical fliers or by word of mouth would only get an organization so far nowadays, compared to the use of digital media, as you have displayed with Dogs with Wings, has proven to be a much more effective method of advertisement in today`society.

  4. Dogs with Wings was the best guest speaker I saw last semester hands down. They didn't talk much about how they use social media to reach out but they did show us the kinds of things they can train the dogs to do (I saw a Labrador pick up a credit card with it's teeth). I agree that Twitter is best for quick updates from a charity whereas the Facebook page is the best outlet for social networking.