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March 15, 2012 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-03-15

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

metro >> Jews in the digital age

of cotton
hand-loomed sweaters

Learning Curve from page 18

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Lindsay Leder, JFS director of volunteer services, working with Marsha
Burley of the Home Depot in Commerce Township.


bathroom remodeling as well as
granite, wood and other


Lois Haron Allied Member ASID 248.851.6989

I' •91, 1 1 t ,

Simplify your life with...

professional organizing services

* home & office organization
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March 15 • 2012

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media at all.
In most cases, competing in such
online contests is a gamble for the non-
profits because they don't know what
their return on investment will be, and
they are allocating a lot of resources,
including staff time, to the cause. JFS has
recruited Jewish professionals and lay
leaders in the community to reach out to
their own networks to encourage daily
voting on the Home Depot Foundation
Facebook page during March. Local
members of the Jewish community were
asked to include reminders on their
social networking sites and in email sig-
natures. Some also are participating in
"post-a-thons," where volunteers gather
at a site and recruit voters via laptop
postings. Additionally, JFS offered a daily
email reminder service to increase its
odds of securing the most votes.
"The Home Depot contest, as well
as our success last summer at winning
Toyota's 100 Cars for Good competition,
has made us aware that everything we
do needs to have a social media layer"
explained Perry Ohren, CEO of JFS. "This
has profound meaning in terms of our
timing and our message. Timing has to
be instantaneous and our message has
to be short and engaging:"
One organization that has found much
success in using its social reach to garner
the votes needed to win online contests
is Chabad Lubavitch. The international
organization headquartered in Brooklyn
exploits social networking not only to
broadcast its message globally, but also
to win financial grants. Chabad schools
and service organizations, like the
Friendship Circle, have used Facebook
and Twitter to rack up hundreds of thou-
sands of votes in national contests for
six-figure grants by Chase Community
Giving and Target Stores.
In a Facebook contest sponsored by
Kohl's Cares, 12 Jewish day schools in
the U.S. finished in the top 20 of the
competition, with 11 of those schools
. being Chabad-affiliated. Friendship
Circle of Michigan, an organization
dedicated to helping children with
special needs, won $100,000 when it
finished third in the Chase Community

Giving Challenge on Facebook after
using several social media tools to get
out the vote.
Through these online contests, major
corporations are able to donate funds to
social service organizations, but its not
completely altruistic. After all, the corpo-
rations are attracting a lot of attention to
their brand. In the case of Home Depot,
they are able to get thousands of people
to visit their Facebook page each day for
a month and look at their corporate logo,
even if it is subliminal advertising. That
is valuable advertising for the company
and the half-million dollar investment is
a small fraction of the retail giant's more
than $1 billion advertising budget.
Foundations for these large compa-
nies, like the Home Depot Foundation,
have to make large charitable gifts each
year so they figure they should at least
help promote their corporate brand in
the process.
Regardless of the motivation behind
these online contests, it is certain that
they have been the driving force in
getting nonprofits to focus more on
social media strategies. Hopefully, when
there's no large cash prize at the end of
the rainbow, nonprofits will continue
to utilize social media to promote their
cause, raise awareness about their mis-
sion and solicit donations.

Rabbi Jason Miller is an entrepreneur, blog-

ger and social media expert. He is president

of West Bloomfield-based Access Computer

Technology and Access Social Media. He

received one of 10 `Jewish influencers in

Social Media" awards from the National

Jewish Outreach Program in New York in


To vote for Jewish Family Service's
Project Build!, go to wwwjfsdet.
org/vote. You can vote once daily
through March 31. For a daily
reminder, go to www.jfsdetroit.org/
hd-challenge. Each day you vote
through your daily email reminder,
you will be entered to win up to
$500 by the end of the month.

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