Social Media

Health Advocacy Groups Use Online Portals to Connect

Online marketing is not only for the profitable business sector, but many online health advocacy groups are also using online resources to make connections with the health community.

The Pew Research Center recently conducted a study that showed how and to what degree online portals are used by health advocacy organizations. Groups are now actively using platforms like Twitter and Facebook to expand their network and share their mission. According to the survey, over 80 percent of internet users are likely to be voluntary members of a health group or organization. The study also showed findings that of the reported 80 percent, those that are members of a social network, 82 percent are a part of a group.

The active, prolific online activity of the users does have an impact on the organizations and groups and how they operate. For instance, respondents noted that having internet accessibility affected their ability to volunteer their time to a group. The respondents also noted that the Internet plays a major role in an organization’s ability to make an impact within various local communities.

Large focus groups are using this information and online resources to their advantage and in furthering their mission. The Autism Delaware organization used their Facebook page to connect with its (current 1,228) volunteers, keeping them abreast of updates and changes. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society of Delaware launched a YouTube video featuring people living and coping with MS and also uses the location-based utility, Foursquare, as a connection tool to organize local meetings.

Beth Kanter, a technology consultant, in an interview stated that many nonprofit groups spread their message through these online connection points, while simultaneously raising awareness, building communities of interest and inviting participation. Whereas in times past, organizations reached members via appeal and donation letters. The Internet has escalated user participation and engagements on a whole new spectrum.