Guest post by Daniel Krueger
With the year coming to a close, it’s always fulfilling to approach the holiday season by giving to those in need. The Fresh Air Fund takes a distinctive approach to giving back to New York City kids, not by giving food or toys but the experience of summer vacations in the countryside rather than the concrete jungle.
The Fund is also taking a fresh look at marketing. Working for the past two and half years with Chris Abraham of Abraham Harrison and the Socialmedia.biz network, the Fresh Air Fund uses social networks like Facebook and Twitter along with targeted blogger outreach to help inspire more people to contribute time or money.
Each year The Fresh Air Fund recruits families to host youngsters from NYC who would otherwise not have the opportunity to spend their vacation in the country. The majority of children are asked to come back year after year, as deep relationships develop between hosts and kids. Thousands of kids are also sent to one of five Fresh Air Fund summer camps because of generous donations collected all year long.
Fresh Air Fund’s social media presence
Word of mouth is generally the best method to inspire friends and families to participate in programs such as the Fresh Air Fund, which has been in operation since 1877. Using social media expands the reach of word of mouth, allowing the Fresh Air Fund programs to continue and grow. The Fresh Air Fund’s Facebook page has a robust fan base — crossing the 10,000 followers threshold yesterday — with 194 photos uploaded by friends and family, plus a Twitter following of more than 11,000 followers.
Other social media efforts on Fresh Air Fund’s behalf over the years include:
• freshairfundseason.com: a social media news release that captures highlights of this year’s activities, including camp news, testimonials from children and participating families, summer highlights, personal storytelling and embed codes that let supporters spread the word through bannners, widgets and embedded videos.
• weneedfreshairfundhosts.com: a series of banners and widgets soliciting hosts for the 2010 program.
• freshairholiday.org: a social media news release that offers summaries of 2009 activities, coverage of Fresh Air fund-raisers at the NYC Half-Marathon, video stories of kids taking part in the program, details about the 2009 holiday drive and embed codes.
And more social media releases:
The program’s continuing impact on young lives
This year nearly 8,000 children enjoyed their best summers yet, 370 students participated in the Career Awareness Program, 11 counselors-in-training spent three days on the Appalachian Trail, and 168 young people were Leaders-in-training. Summer 2010 featured the Precious Center for Teen Leadership at Camp Anita Bliss Coler and a surprise visit from Shape magazine editors who traveled up to camp to share their expertise and dedication to fitness, education and career development with the ABC leadership campers. Todrick Hall also paid a visit to Fresh Air Camps this summer, sharing dance and performance tips, as well as swimming and working on the Model Farm.
No matter the season, Fresh Air children remain involved, excited and forward-thinking. We need loyal friends like you to continue serving thousands of New York City children throughout the year. Visit freshair.org to make a donation or inquire about becoming a host family.
“Many people will never understand how truly remarkable and critical this opportunity is for a child’s development. By experiencing new things and different lifestyles and cultures, it broadened my capacity to deal with life in and outside of NYC.” – Lee Coleman (visited Connie Beck and her daughter Laura in Painted Post, NY)
Whether it’s a two-week trip to the country to visit a volunteer host family or a fun-filled and educational stay at one of the summer camps, Fresh Air Fund programs make for unforgettable memories – and open a world of new friendships and fresh possibilities.
• freshairfundseason.com: social media press release for 2010 campaign
• freshairholiday.org: the 2009 campaign