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.
I couldn’t agree more! I know millennials get a bad reputation for being too forward, or just different in general, however, I have seen our generation use social media as a platform for change and encouragement time and time again. ‘WeWilmRebuild’ is just one amazing example of how this generation takes action and uses social media and technology to make a change. The ALS ice challenge that raised money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis disease, and promoted awareness of the disease, was another example of how this generation stands to make a change.
Great job highlighting such an awesome non-profit relief group ! It was so awesome to see our students and community come together and to see that social media could take part in it !
What they’re doing is great, I just wish the supplies had gotten down here in the hands of the people that need the donations sooner. Here’s to hoping the money and donations will be put to good use!
The power of community is amazing, especially in dire times. Hurricane Florence brought devastation to our Wilmington community. While at times Wilmington can appear highly divisive and segregated, I saw this community come together in the aftermath for a common purpose. What is so awesome is that with social media, a different more broader community can be created than that of just close proximity. Social media is such a powerful tool to generate far reaching awareness and bring people together from all across the world. What’s even more awesome is that WeWilmRebuild is student led! It is great to see students from UNCW using social media to create this culture, to get this community fully invested and involved and use it to help those who need it most. Thanks for the post!
I agree with millennials being the most generous, this derives from our social awareness. Many great platforms have been made through social media as a result of Hurricane Florence. Word spread fast and for the betterment of the community. I enjoyed your post!
This article really captures the positive impact of social media. I love how you start off referencing millennials because in a sense it has a negative connotation. People think that we are into social media purely for ourselves but what a lot do not know is just how effective it is when it comes to mass marketing. I personally followed ILM Rebuild so I could stay updated with the pick up locations and noticed how each day they were growing as a page. It is amazing to see how a few UNCW Students came together and affected thousands of people. Although some may use social media for bad, it is mainly used for good. It is awesome that you captured that topic and brought it to light.
This article was very interesting and better informed be about the efforts being made to help those affected by Hurricane Florence. Social media has a bit of a bad reputation and is believed to be the source of so many issues in our world today. This, however, helped to shed light of the benefits of social media. Young people were able to connect via Instagram, one of the largest and most popular social media platforms for millennials, and come together to bring good to world. This gave me hope for the future of social media and the future of our world.