Guest post by Linda Kurtz, Online Community Engagement Manager for The Campus Kitchens Project
Through my work with The Campus Kitchens Project, I have become a NASCAR fan. Specifically, I cheer for four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon. Why? Because he drives the Drive to End Hunger #24 Chevy.
In February 2011, AARP Foundation (a funder and partner of The Campus Kitchens Project) initiated Drive to End Hunger, a multi-year nationwide campaign to raise awareness and funds to address the problem of hunger among people 50+, and develop both short-term and long-term solutions to the hunger problem. Not only do they coordinate and support on-the-ground activities that fight hunger in older adults, they also sponsor Jeff Gordon’s car to raise awareness for the issue. 2015 will be the fifth year AARP will be a primary sponsor of Jeff Gordon’s car, unprecedented for a social cause.
One of the innovative ways Drive to End Hunger works to raise the awareness and funds essential to fighting this problem is through social media. With nearly 20,000 followers on Twitter and more than 51,000 likes on Facebook, they have a huge social community that regularly shares and retweets their content. But Drive to End Hunger takes it one step further: they utilize Social Toaster to push content out through their fans’ Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages.
Here’s how it works: fans can sign up to support Drive to End Hunger online and connect whichever of those three social accounts they would like. After signing up, they receive weekly emails with posts created by Drive to End Hunger that they can choose to share on their networks. And when users click to share the content, it appears as if it’s a retweet of Drive to End Hunger content. Here’s one Drive to End Hunger created supporting their work with The Campus Kitchens Project:
— Campus Kitchens (@campuskitchens) October 10, 2014
By using this social media tool, Drive to End Hunger can ensure its fans post the exact messaging that will be most powerful on that particular day out to their own friends and followers. (As a bonus for sharing, fans rack up points they can then exchange for rewards.) The tool does not specify its pricing structure online, so I cannot vouch for how affordable it may or may not be. But I wonder just how much more reach and impact Drive to End Hunger can have on the issue of older adult hunger in the United States by harnessing the power of social media in this way.