Say what you want about millennials, or even the up and coming iGen (generation Z), but one thing is for sure: there has never been a generation that is as passionate about social causes and raising awareness. As a whole, millennials are more generous with their time, money and influence through social media platforms.
During Hurricane Florence, a student-lead 501c3 non-profit organization was created, known as WeWilmRebuild. This organization started gaining awareness through Instagram. In fact, all administrators met each other via Instagram. WeWilmRebuild has teamed up with Technology For The Future, who helped fund and create the WeWilmRebuild website. When the Instagram page was first created, the administrators had no idea that it would become as popular as it did so quickly. The organization did not just gain a strong Wilmington follow, but from other cities, states and even countries. I spoke with Jaz Vanscoy, the program director, who mentioned that they even had people contact them from Italy wanting to help.
After their Instagram page gained popularity, they started their Facebook group page which helped them reach an older demographic than their followers on Instagram. Their popularity reached to local artists, who have offered to donate a percentage of their proceeds to the organization. Love Your Local Co is one local business that donated 80% of their profit to WeWilmRebuild. Love Your Local Co is a small, local business that is ran by UNCW students and creates hats, stickers and more that are designed specifically for Wilmington and the Wilmington area.
WeWilmRebuild also has t-shirts and mugs for sale on their website, with an art design and their name on the front. The way this college team has branded themselves in such a short amount of time through primarily Instagram is something that future relief non-profit organizations can use as a reference. Jaz mentioned that the donations have been kept in a warehouse in High Point, North Carolina but are expected to be brought to Wilmington within the next week. After organizing the supplies, the donations will be ready within the next few weeks. She mentioned that while they are all frustrated with the donation supplies taking a while to get to Wilmington, they are overjoyed with the awareness and support they gained through their social media accounts and donation drives.