For those of you on Instagram, you may be familiar with the account Humans of New York (HONY). The owner, Brandon Stanton, runs a blog on which he posts pictures he takes of New Yorkers from all parts of the city, along with a short blurb in which they often reveal something private or unknown about themselves.
In mid-January, he took a picture of a young boy in Brownsville, Brooklyn, a neighborhood with the highest crime rate in the city. The boy mentioned that he is influenced most by his principal, Ms. Lopez. She expects her students to be something, where as everyone else sees being from Brownsville a sentence to be unsuccessful. HONY went on to visit his school and started profiling the school and its teachers on Instagram. As part of his meetings with them, Stanton learned of their desperate need for funding. He launched a fundraiser on IndieGoGo and posted about it on the HONY Instagram page. The attention this brought to the tough circumstances of this neighborhood and school resulted in helping the school raise over $1 million to send the students on an annual trip to Harvard University for the next six years.
While this particular situation did not start out with the intent to raise money, it shows how organizations can use the power of social media to their benefit. When a non-profit doesn’t have resources, social media can help get attention and get their message out. HONY took advantage of its over 8 million followers to share a story that resulted in an outpouring of support for the school and its students. When you have a story that people can connect with, you can truly utilize the full power of social media.