In June of 2006, I moved to Fort St. John to be closer to family. The economy here was booming and the oil and gas sector was the cause. My nephew, his wife and their 5 children were here and I was looking forward to spending time with them and helping out. Sadly, my nephew and his family were transferred on July 1, 2006 to Prince George. I found myself alone in a place I hardly knew. Years ago, my Mom had told me that the best way to meet people was through volunteering. The next thing I knew I was volunteering at the Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society (FSJWRS). It was not what I expected. I had this preconceived notion that this organization was full of male bashing women. Boy, I was really wrong. The volunteers came from all walks of life and were in different stages of life. Some had been single, others had young families, some were widows and many had successful long-term relationships with their spouses. These women were extremely supportive of one another and had a wealth of knowledge. The goal is to empower women and girls by providing tools that would improve the quality of their lives. Social media has been used to build the brand, inform and educate however there is so much more that could be done.
Let us examine the business function of Human Resources and the key performance factors of volunteer retention and volunteer motivation. There are a few things that will assist in retaining volunteers and one of them is for the volunteers to have input. This could be facilitated with social media such as Facebook. The FSJWRS would establish guidelines for the areas of input as there are some areas of the organization that are extremely confidential given the nature of the business so to speak. As for volunteer motivation one of the ideas is for the volunteers to create their own project or fundraiser independent of the FSJWRS however the recipient would be the FSJWRS. Using social media such as Facebook to solicit these volunteer projects. Acknowledging the contribution, the volunteer has made will go a long way to establishing a relationship. It is common knowledge that “employees” will stay with an employer who acknowledges them versus going somewhere else for higher wages.
Marketing is another function that could utilize social media such as Facebook utilizing the Whole Enterprise Social Media Canvas so that it aligns with the organizations vision. There are a few types of donations that could be included in this. The FSJWRS has an outreach store which provides food, hygiene and clothing to clients at no cost. The way this is done is through physical donations of items from the generous community. Social media is also used to solicit donations of items the outreach store is running low on or out of. There are also the financial donations that are made on the FSJWRS website. A unique donation campaign could be created to align with the organizations needs. They have had plenty of success with the “One Bag Challenge”
Another key performance factor would be sponsorship which would have a significant impact on the organization’s finances if they were to acquire annual sponsorships. There are many large corporations that have a budget for community engagement that could help to facilitate additional programs or support the existing ones. Utilizing social media to engage these corporations well in advance of them creating the budgets for the upcoming year could secure funds. The best way to do this is by being transparent, real and to use an emotional connection. It is also very important to establish relationships with those who are part of the community engagement department.
Lastly, the use of social media to enable strategic planning would be extremely beneficial. An organic document that is being updated to reflect the current environment. The FSJWRS has seen an increase in the number of clients utilizing the service. This is an indicator that the economy isn’t as healthy as it once was. Knowing this information will assist with planning for the situation to worsen however, holding out hope for it to improve. The FSJWRS is utilizing FaceTime for meetings which has been extremely useful. There may be another method of meeting online that does not cost any money.
Lessons for Others
In conclusion, the Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society has been utilizing social media for years to solicit donations, inform the community and educate people. It is time to explore some other options and test drive them. Working on a Whole Enterprise Social Media Canvas with the Staff and Board Members to come up with a complete canvas will aid the society in many ways. In this case study I only chose a few functions and key performance factors however the plan is to finish the entire canvas. The tool proposed for all of this is Facebook. This will reduce any learning curve and save the organization money.
It has been an honour to volunteer for the Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society for all these years. I have made some amazing friendships and learned a lot. I am humbled by the clients who utilize the services and the warm-hearted staff that provide them.
Fort St. John Women's Resource Society
Name of Organization Contact: Sherry Marshall
Authored by: Hannah Jarvinen
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.
The Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society website https://www.fsjwrs.ca/
The Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/fsjwrs/?__tn__=%2Cd%2CP-R&eid=ARBuDNcEx-znNDeBd2Ti6IXgMjZcLG0SjebG8Nk5eh_-Tque_ezmNsKvMSMuk6I86Kt8oTOhjgzP_DGV
YouTube Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society presents on homeless count. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdoKvabmxZs