Most non-profitable organizations are developed to assist people struggling with the inability to access food, shelter, clothing, and other essential services like healthcare. Organizations focused on food provision strive to feed people affected by natural disaster or marginalized communities that might not have access to sustainable sources of food. While other charity organization might focus on providing their assistance to underserved or vulnerable population through financial assistance, organizations like Loaves and Fishes opt to offer their assistance to these communities by providing them with food.
The Loaves and Fishes organization was developed with the aim of feeding hungry people in Clarksville, TN who do not have access to sustainable sources of food. The organization has been in operation since 1983. It was initially run by women from the Trinity Episcopal Church who served soup to the needy every Wednesday. After realizing the additional support, in obtaining daily meals, that the vulnerable populations within the area had, the organization began offering daily lunch to the poor and homeless within the area. They were supported by the Madison Street United Methodist, First Presbyterian, and Immaculate Conception Catholic churches in forming the Loaves and Fishes organization. Other partners that the organization currently works with include Gordon Food Service, Pizza Hut, Urban Ministries, Wal-Mart, Silke’s Old World Breads, Commissary on Ft. Campbell, Food Lion, The Food Initiative, Red Lobster, Empty Presbyterian Church, Trinity Episcopal Church, and Papa John’s Pizza (Loaves and Fishes). These partners have assisted the Loaves and Fishes organization in meeting the needs of the vulnerable population who rely on them for food.
Goals and Objectives
The organization goals and objectives entail its commitment to provide the Clarksville communities with a distribution center that can be used for food donations, which would then be distributed to legitimate agencies within the Clarksville, Montgomery County area that is dedicated to feeding the hungry. Other objectives include operating a soup kitchen for feeding all the hungry people in Clarksville who cannot afford to cater for their own nutrients needs by providing them with meals every Monday to Saturday annually and purchasing for them supplemental food whenever its necessary (Loaves & Fishes). The organization is planning to relocate to a new facility within Clarksville to better accommodate the growing needs of the community. Aside from feeding more people, the new and larger facility will also ensure that they can offer all their services under one roof, which will mean greater efficiency in their service provision (Loaves & Vision). These goals and objectives are directed towards increased food supply to vulnerable communities in Clarksville.
Target Population, Operations, Competition and Funding
The Loaves and Fishes organization targets vulnerable people in the community who are poor or do not have access to food. The organization serves approximately 200 meals daily and between 45,000 to 50,000 meals annually on-site to those who are hungry and unable to cater for their food expenses. The organization also distributes food to area agencies through assistance from volunteers. Loaves and Fishes has a food distribution center that distributes thousands of pounds of food to approximately thirty churches and agencies involved in helping the needy in their community. Their soup kitchen serves meals between 10.30 AM to 12:00 PM every Monday to Saturday. On Sunday, the organization allows different groups of church members or volunteers to serve food in the form of lunch bags between 10:30 AM and 11:30 AM. The Sunday program is referred to as Blessing bags and encourages volunteers to sacrifice their time and feed those who are hungry even on Sundays (Loaves and Fishes). They receive their donations Monday to Saturday between 8:00 AM and Noon at the 215 Foster St. location.
Since the organization is involved in food service provision, its current competitors include the restaurants and food joints located in Clarksville. Its direct competitors are other non-profitable organizations serving within the same state, who might require the support of partners like Gordon Food Service, Pizza Hut, and Wal-Mart that Loaves and Fishes rely on for financial support and food donations (Loaves and Fishes). Their marketing strategy entails approaching other organizations in the food industry within the city for partnerships to promote their ability to access a sustainable source of food or funds to feed the hungry. Additionally, they also rely on assistance from philanthropic individuals who are allowed to donate money, food, or their time to assist the organization in serving food and drinks, cleaning up, conducting holiday programs, administration, distributing food, supervising meal distribution, and preparing and setting up meals. Aside from the blessing bags program, well-wishers are allowed to offer their support through food donations, receiving funding through their agency endowment fund (AEF) and other direct financial donations, planned giving programs, and virtual food drives. These sources ensure that they have adequate access to funds and foods to feed the vulnerable population throughout the year.
Current Social Media Activity
The Loaves and Fishes organization uses different social media platforms to attract the attention of millions of potential donors and keep their supporters updated. The social media platforms also offer the organization the chance to showcase the different programs that they have been involved in or upcoming activities. The links to these social media websites have been listed in the main website, which the organization relies on for communicating official messages about the history of the organization, its mission, vision, values, objectives, and partners. The main website contains a section for news and events that ensures people are updated about upcoming events like food drives, information about a new donor or volunteering groups, and a newsletter that can be sent to interested individuals (Loaves and Fishes). The main website also contains links to donation platforms.
Loaves and Fishes has a Facebook page that allows it to connect with millions of people from different parts of the world who might wish to offer their donations and support or might want to direct other people living within Clarksville to the facility for assistance. They have more than 3,000 followers on Facebook. The Loaves and Fishes organization posts at least five times a week and sometimes post more than once in a day. They are effective in using Facebook to educate people about their initiatives and attract more people to their programs. Their aim in using Facebook seem to be based on sharing information about feeding vulnerable groups as well as creating a community that will support their initiatives continuously.
The Facebook page showcases the activities that the organization participates in and appreciates donors for their support through messages posted on the timeline. For instance, on 23rd April, the organization posted a challenge requesting friends and interested individuals to participate in a challenge that was focused on raising $20,000. The Facebook page also contains posts about the connection between the organization and events occurring globally such as Earth Day that reminds people to promote the environment, appreciation for those who donate food and face masks during the Coronavirus, pictures of the types of food packages offered to people in need, and images of preparation of blessing bags. They also offer updates of the effects of the Coronavirus on homeless people who require food and other donations and information on the ongoing project of building a bigger and more accommodating facility (Loaves and Fishes). Facebook is their most popular platform.
Twitter and Instagram
Unlike their Facebook platform where most of their updated information is shared, their Twitter page has fewer followers and posts limited information about the organization. They have 641 followers on Twitter, which is a much lower number compared to the 3,188 followers on Facebook. They post a few times in a year on Twitter to communicate with people who do not have a Facebook account or those who prefer short messages. Their last post on Twitter was on November 4, 2019 (Loaves and Fishes). Unlike on Facebook where they have posted several updates on how they are handling food distributions, donations, and food packaging processes during the Coronavirus pandemic, their Twitter handles mostly contains information about processes that people can follow to donate food or finances.
They also have an Instagram account that they use to post pictures of volunteers and donations made towards their initiatives. The Instagram page has photographs posted daily accompanied with short thanksgiving messages. Like Twitter, Instagram is mostly used to attract individuals who do not frequently use Facebook. This enables the organization to develop a large online-based community of followers and supporters. Having these different social media platforms ensures that they can reach out to many people and organizations for support (Loaves and Fishes). It also helps in validating their initiatives and assuring volunteers and donors that their support is used to help those in need.
Recommended Social Media Strategy
The world is in a state of constant coactivity where most of the information-sharing practices rely on the internet. Most of the people in the world with the exception of the elderly use social media platforms. Being a non-profitable charity organization that focuses on attaining food donations and funds to feed the needy, Loaves and Fishes should use social media to create a large community of supporters who can offer them constant donations to continue feeding those who are dependent on their initiatives. They should also use social media to update their followers or supporters about the donations they have received, the impact of the donations to their organizations, and the techniques used to distribute the donations to vulnerable populations. Additionally, Loaves and Fishes should use their social media to advertise their organization as there is no cost of advertising on these platforms and they can reach more people through social media advertising than print options.
Some of the messages that they should try to communicate to their followers include benefits of food donations as a means of ending world hunger and malnutrition, the differences a small donation can make in the lives of those in need, and gratitude for all the donations and volunteer support received. They should request their followers to share their social media links with their friends and families to grow their online community. This would also act as a form of advertisement and could help them access more partners and donors. They should also communicate their future goals and plans to attract more people who might be interested in funding their upcoming projects. Additionally, Loaves and Fishes should use social media platforms to conduct food drives through challenges that allow participating members to win gifts or privileges on the websites. The gifts and privileges can range from having their photos posted on the platforms for a week or month to winning cash rewards that are directed to the Loaves and Fishes charity.
Their social media goals should be reaching out to as many people as possible globally who can support their initiatives through financial support and food donations. They should also focus on increasing awareness about the importance of supporting the needy and the impact of the contributions made by people, build trust among their followers through transparency and sharing of information regarding the donations received, and increasing traffic on their platforms. They should also make it easy for followers to submit their donations by providing links that direct followers to options like PayPal or other online banking platforms. Other goals that the organization should focus on include increasing members and volunteers by encouraging their followers to participate in their programs and build relationships with their followers by responding to their followers’ comments on their platforms. These strategies will increase the organizations’ followers, volunteers, donations, and revenue.
While the Loaves and Fishes organization relies on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, there are more social media platforms that they can consider. The main strategy should involve venturing into other social media platforms to increase their recognition globally. Aside from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, they should also be using YouTube. Facebook and Instagram should continue being their main social media platform because they usually have more participants when compared to other platforms. They should use these platforms daily to post updates on received donations, progress on ongoing community projects, and upcoming events (Loaves and Fishes). They should also use YouTube to post extensive videos of their projects, food preparation methods, food packaging and distributions, and coordination with other local organizations that support them in distributing food. The videos can also include discussions on the different donations options available for people who are interested in supporting them. YouTube videos can be posted once a month to eliminate the strenuous activity of editing videos daily, while still ensuring that they deliver their message to their intended audience. If posted monthly, the videos can showcase all the activities conducted within those months and the participants.
Aside from their clients and partners, they should also target all the other social media users. While their partners might offer them large donations annually, targeting other social media users can increase their revenue and ensure that during challenging times when they have limited donations, they can use the saving obtained from the revenue collected from the other social media users. Targeting other social media users can also promote their recognition and increase other organization’s likelihood of offering them donations. Since Loaves and Fishes is a charity organization and social media is used by a wide variation of people from different age groups, organizations, and backgrounds, they will not need to create content that varies based on their target as their main aim is increasing the number of people and organizations supporting their work. It is also challenging selecting a target audience on social media, as everyone who follows the page will be able to view the information posted. As such, they should ensure that their posts encompass all their target audience to promote the revenue generated.
Since the staff working on a full-time basis for the organization are limited, the volunteer coordinator and the warehouse coordinator should be responsible for the addressing social media posts. These individuals handle the donations received from well-wishers and participate in organizing volunteer groups interested in offering their services to the organization. They should also consider hiring an additional person or an outside firm to handle all the social media platforms as posting pictures, editing videos, and replying to messages posted on the platform by followers can be quite challenging for a person handling another role in the organization. The firm can work collaboratively with the volunteer and warehouse coordinators in accessing information about what should be posted on the online platforms.
Some of the social platforms that may not be necessary for the organization include Pinterest because it is commonly used by individuals looking for style inspiration for clothing, interior designs, recipes, and other designs, as opposed to charity drives and Snapchat because it focuses on sharing short videos or picture messages that disappear after a while. Aside from the organizations they are working with, they should also collaborate with online influencers who have many followers to generate more traffic for their platforms. The influencers can participate in some of the organization’s volunteer activities and encourage their followers to also take part in the same activities. They should also request some of their volunteers to tag them in their personal posts to attract more attention and increase the likelihood of receiving donations from the people who will view their clients’ posts. Aside from the funds required to pay an external firm for managing their social media pages, the organization will not incur any additional costs.
Loaves and Fishes will know if the strategies were successful based on an increase in the number of people and other organizations following them on their social media pages, increased food and financial donations, increased participation in challenges aimed at raising funds or voluntary activities like distributing food to the affected communities or serving food during the week. Other measures of success include increased traffic and comments from followers in the social media platforms and inquiries about programs the organization develops. The success can be measured within the first week of applying the strategies. Unlike print media, news on social media travels faster and changes noted daily. The organization should assess their previous performance on social media and compare it with weekly results seen after implementation of these strategies for approximately six months to one year. They should follow the strategy for the one year to determine its effectiveness and determine whether they would wish to continue applying it to the organization.
Social media is a strong platform for promoting non-profitable organizations as it offers free advertisement opportunities that organizations can use to market their companies. Other recommendations that the organization can apply include using clear images and videos, posting on the platforms consistently, ensuring they reply to their followers within short periods, and posting stories of real people who have benefited from the food donations. These measures would encourage more people to follow their social media and offer their donations. Some of the concerns that they might have to deal with include hate comments or messages, having a follower who post graphic violent content on their social media pages and them tags the organization. The next step for the organization should be getting someone who can concentrate on the social media sites on a full-time basis or hiring an outside firm. These will ensure that hate comments and negative posts are deleted within a short time to avoid ruining the reputation of the organization.
Loaves & Fishes. Mission & Values. 2020. http://loavesandfishestn.org/about/mission-values/.
Loaves & Vision. New Move, New Vision. 2020. http://loavesandfishestn.org/new-move-new-vision/.
Loaves and Fishes. Blessing Bags. 2020. http://loavesandfishestn.org/blessing-bags/.
Loaves and Fishes. Facebook. 2020. https://web.facebook.com/LoavesandFishesTN/.
Loaves and Fishes. History: Loaves and Fishes is a 501(C)(3) Non-Profit Organization. 2020. http://loavesandfishestn.org/about/history/.
Loaves and Fishes. Instagram. 2020. https://www.instagram.com/loavesfishesnc/.
Loaves and Fishes. News & Events. 2020. http://loavesandfishestn.org/news-events/.
Loaves and Fishes. Our Partners. 2020. http://loavesandfishestn.org/about/our-partners/.
Loaves and Fishes. Twitter. 2020. https://twitter.com/lnftn.