A screenshot of St. Louis's Facebook
I’ve really been enjoying my research for my Global Advertising and PR class!
Back to My Roots - St. Louis
For my research of Ronald McDonald House Charities, I decided to “start at home.” For me that means St. Louis. In an earlier post, I told the story of my family’s stay at the Ronald McDonald House of St. Louis when I was a baby in the NICU.
I had the opportunity to interview Katie Underhill, Communications Coordinator for Ronald McDonald House Charities of St. Louis. The St. Louis Chapter operates three Houses and three Family Rooms.
Underhill's primary focus when managing social media for RMHC of St. Louis is to raise awareness.
Underhill said she uses Facebook to connect with families and volunteers, and she stressed how important it is to establish an emotional connection.
“We have had some great feedback from posting photos of families who have stayed at the house, and come back to donate pop tabs or Wish List items,” said Underhill. “People use us at a time when they are in crisis, and when their child heals, they want to give back.”
A screenshot of St. Louis's Twitter
Underhill makes a Facebook post at least every other day. Research shows that Wednesday through Friday are some of the best times for a nonprofit to update Facebook, and Underhill makes an effort to post during those peak times.
RMHC of St. Louis makes very effective use of photos. Image posts are often the most successful on Facebook. Almost every post for RMHC of St. Louis has a picture.
Underhill said that, while Facebook is most effective for reaching out to families and volunteers, Twitter is more effective for connecting with donors and other organizations.
“If we are running out of Wish List items for our Family Rooms,” said Underhill, “we will put up a tweet. Pretty quickly, companies all over St. Louis have retweeted it, and the donations will come rolling in.”
Ronald McDonald House Charities is about helping families stay strong during difficult times. RMHC of St. Louis's Facebook Twitter show the strong families who find comfort at a Ronald McDonald House.
In May of 2013, I had the opportunity to participate in a research trip to London. I conducted research comparing how nonprofits use social media for public relations in the U.K. versus in the U.S. The entries in the blog contain my findings.