Local nonprofit leaders further reach with social networking sites

Many nonprofits have learned to value the marketing techniques found within social media. Ashley Millerd, executive director of Keep Waco Beautiful, appreciates the efficient and affordable ways Facebook opens an outlet to share the message and mission of the nonprofit. Jason Pedreros | Multimedia Journalist

By Lizzie Thomas | Staff Writer

Ashley Millerd, executive director of Keep Waco Beautiful, a local affiliate of the national environmental organization Keep America Beautiful, aims to be completely paperless in promotion of the organization.

Newspapers and mail-outs are not very effective and can be expensive, according to Millerd. Social media is a cheap and effective way to reach a wide variety of people in the community quickly and consistently.

“I try to follow along with the changes,” Millerd said. “I get more of a response on Facebook. Financially, it makes sense because Facebook allows Eventbrite and has a nonprofit strategy.”

Millerd promotes the association’s vision for Waco — to help make Waco a cleaner, healthier, safer and more beautiful place to live, work and play — through social media and getting people motivated to act on their own.

One of the primary goals is to keep the streets and rivers clean of litter by being more conscious of waste and recycling. The organization’s website states: “We believe that concentrated cleanup, beautification and anti-litter programs develop a feeling of community pride among our citizens.”

According to Millerd, within the first three days of trying to raise money for a trailer with a social media campaign, they raised $500, which would likely not have happened with any other media. Millerd also uses social media for furniture donation requests, to reach their goal to reduce waste. This message is also delivered via Mailchimp, an online marketing platform that aims to grow businesses.

Ashley Thornton founded Act Locally Waco to be a one-stop-shop for people wanting to get involved in the community through volunteering, civic engagement or fun. The primary function of the organization is the email newsletter Thornton sends out about what’s happening in Waco. A calendar full of other nonprofits’ events and updates can be found at Act Locally Waco’s website.

“The whole purpose of Act Locally Waco is — we don’t host any of our own events — it’s all about sharing what other nonprofits are doing and what other organizations are doing in the community to help people … to just find out about stuff and get involved. We share a lot of other people’s fundraisers,” Thornton said.

Whether she sees a fundraiser where 10 percent of the proceeds at a restaurant one night go to an organization or whether the fundraiser costs $150 a plate, Thornton said she promotes it by sharing from Act Locally Waco’s social media, or she tries to amplify what the organization is doing. “It’s just so hard now … weirdly, kind of ironically … there’s so many ways to get information that you’re not sure which ways are good ways to share information,” Thornton said.