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The Red Cross, Social Media, and Helping Those in Need

The internet makes it possible to share information all over the world. People from anywhere are able to communicate, share pictures and stories, and in general form a type of “community” all their own. So, are you wondering where this is leading? Of course you are!

Social Media

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Social media is a great way to get the word out anytime something happens, either good or bad, and the directors of the Red Cross know this, in particular, the Social Media Director. This is where the Red Cross hears what people are saying about the organization, and they take all the information quite seriously and look for ways to improve the group and its efforts. If any information is incorrect or simply not true, social media is used as a way to get the truth out there to everyone. Most people are not willing to accept a simple answer because what they are looking for is change.

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The Red Cross didn’t used to be much of a social media user, but in light of events that affected the whole world, the organization realized this was the perfect forum to affect changing times when needed, but it wasn’t until the horrendous and devastating earthquake in Haiti that not only changed the life of these people, but the Red Cross as well. By sponsoring fundraisers and getting the word out on television, radio, and the internet, millions of dollars were raised for the Haiti relief effort. By using social media to inform the public, the Red Cross managed to raise $284 million dollars in donations in just a little over one month.

$80 million of those dollars were sent to Haiti to meet the overwhelming needs of the people living there, and a whopping $20 million dollars was raised because the Red Cross implemented the text message donation page-where people worldwide were asked to text the words “Haiti” from their cell phones. A $10 pledge was all it took to raise all those millions, so imagine how many people donated! The text program still exists today, has the backing of the US State Department, and people can still donate if they wish. Now, that is just one way to put your cell phone to good use, isn’t it?

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Website for Hurricane Effort in Haiti

A separate website was also established, as well as a blog in conjunction with the hurricane effort in Haiti. People who have lost, or are looking for loved ones, can use the blog to communicate with other family members. Flickr brought photos to the public eye, and currently have generated over 1 million views. Facebook and Twitter were able to keep people updated in real time as to the situation in Haiti, publish updates, and other information pertinent to the disaster, proving that social media is a valuable tool, and not just something to play around on. I find it a great source and a wealth of information for anything that is happening in the news today. Yes, some of the information posted may be biased or even incorrect, but compared to years ago when all we had to rely on for incoming news was the radio, newspaper, or television, social media gets the word out faster and spreads further than you can imagine.

Thankfully, the Red Cross of America realized that they were not utilizing everything that was available to them for spreading the word, and made the decision to use social media to call for donations and assistance. Who is to say what would have happened in Haiti if this media was not in place? Surely help would have come, but undoubtedly it would have taken much more time.

I’m sure every man, woman, and undoubtedly some children have heard of the Red Cross in America, but I wonder if everyone actually knows what that Red Cross symbolizes, or what the organization does?

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Red Cross Volunteer Jobs

You may want to know what kinds of jobs are available on a volunteer basis with the Red Cross, so I have put together a list of what I could find. Hopefully, this list may have something that you are interested in if you have been thinking about volunteering some of your time. Check it out to see the typical jobs available, because the Red Cross is always looking for people who have varied backgrounds in different areas.

Board Members

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By becoming a board member, you will become a spokesperson for the Red Cross in your local community. You will also be able to assist with fund raising efforts and various marketing programs.

6271: Red Cross volunteers Kelli Corkins and Charles Richardson deliver snacks and provide comfort to the children at Grove Park Apartments where Tropical Storm Hanna caused flooding and power outages. The aftermath of the storm prevented the children from using their playground area which was immersed in flood water. Additional info: Tropical Storm Hanna Flooding at Grove Park Apartments 2609 Mcneill St Raleigh, North Carolina (NC) 27608 Kelli Corkins – American Red Cross volunteer Charles Richardson – American Red Cross volunteer he Red Cross visited Grove Park Apartment complex in Raleigh, NC, where Tropical Storm Hanna caused substantial flooding. Going door to door, Red Cross volunteers conducted damage assessments by asking residents if their homes were damaged by flooding or power outages. Many of the residents did not sustain damage to their homes but the surrounding property, including the parking lot, playground and air-conditioning units, were submerged in murky water with swarms of mosquitoes. While conducting damage assessments, Red Cross volunteers handed out snacks and provided comfort to the younger Grove Park Apartment residents who gathered outside. The aftermath of Tropical Storm Hanna prevented them from using their playground area which was immersed in flood water. “Red Cross volunteers Kelli Corkins and Charles Richardson deliver snacks to the children at Grove Park Apartments.”

Volunteer Management

This job would require you to assist in recruiting new members and help place them in areas where they are most needed.

Hospital Volunteer

Hospital volunteers assist patients at military hospitals, and also lend a hand at the local Veterans Administration service.

Babysitting Course Instructor

Become certified to teach the Red Cross Babysitting course to teens in your area.

Disaster Preparedness Instructor/Presenter

You will be able to instruct families and groups how to prepare for a potential disaster before it happens

Philippine Red Cross volunteers take to the streets to clean up after the Manila floods. From emergency relief to the post-flood clean-up, Philippine Red Cross volunteers where involved. Photo: Joe Cropp/IFRC

Disaster Services Volunteer

Once you are trained, you will assist other volunteers in providing food, shelter and other resources to families who have been affected by a disaster. Scenarios might include a fire, flood, hurricane or tornado.

Disaster Action Team Member

Volunteers who are a member of this team are ready to jump into action at a moment’s notice when there is any disaster.

Health/Safety Instructor

If you are certified, you can instruct groups of people on how to perform CPR, First Aid, and swimming and water safety.

American Red Cross volunteer Pam Rogers with Victoria Key, 5, at the Red Cross Shelter at Belk Activity Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

First Aid Team Volunteer

The team sponsors events throughout the year to bring awareness to the community concerning the Red Cross and the need for volunteers.

School Clubs

Both students and teachers from grade school through college participate in Red Cross programs and have clubs within the schools that belong to the society.

Red Cross Ready

This is a short 10-minute quiz that enables you and your own family to prepare a disaster plan of your own should the time ever come when you would need it.

Blood Drive Coordinator

You will be the person who greets blood donors when they come in to donate and helps them to register.

Blood Donor Recruiter

You will work with businesses, companies, and individuals to promote upcoming blood drives and sign up donors.

Staff Supporter

There are dozens of tasks that need to be done in this area. You may be asked to stock shelves, check existing inventories, run errands or make deliveries.

Public Speaker

As a public speaker you would set up presentations in and around the community to educate the public about the Red Cross mission and its many services.

Clerical Volunteer

Your duties would be to assist the administrative members with filing, typing, and other office-related tasks.

As you can clearly see from this list there are numerous ways you can assist your local chapter of the American Red Cross if you want volunteer some of your time and knowledge. As I stated, this is only a partial list of volunteer opportunities, and there are many more ways you can give back by becoming a member of the Red Cross Society. It’s a chance to help your local communities, and gain a personal satisfaction by knowing you are assisting those in need. Go! Volunteer!

I’m sure every man, woman, and undoubtedly some children have heard of the Red Cross in America, but I wonder if everyone actually knows what that Red Cross symbolizes, or what the organization does?

Read More