THE METHODIST WELFARE SERVICES (MWS) is taking its first foray into social media with a new Facebook account, not just to create more awareness but to engage the younger generation and web-savvy professionals.
In a survey conducted in 2011 with non-profit professionals, it was revealed that Facebook is the most commonly-used tool for web communications. Nine out of 10 non-profit organisations (NPOs) are using Facebook. The MWS has recently become one of them.
In a USA Today report, it was stated that “some are finding younger, first-time donors who are more likely to give via messaging or Facebook, than by writing a cheque after opening a traditional solicitation delivered to a (physical) mailbox”.
While fund-raising might not be the MWS’ main objective for venturing into social media, establishing a presence on a vibrant and dynamic platform like Facebook will allow the organisation to garner more support for its charitable work. Furthermore, Facebook is a medium for the MWS to direct traﬃc to its newly-launched web portal (www.mws.org.sg).
Mrs Jenny Bong, Group Executive Director of the MWS, believes that social media should enable the MWS to reach out to the community better, be it to Methodists or the public. “Social media will complement our new web portal. When implemented together, we hope to be a reliable platform and resource for all things to do with social concerns.”
After months of planning, the MWS’ web portal was launched in January 2012. This is a milestone as it heralds the beginning of a journey in which the MWS can provide direct social services as well as be a valuable resource centre for social issues in Singapore.
In-depth coverage of social issues and events by the MWS will be featured and updated regularly on the website, much like a news site.
Mrs Bong said: “The web portal content is meant to generate awareness of the social issues that the MWS and its centres address on a daily basis. For example, a visitor will be able to get insight into the chronically-poor in Singapore or how those with advanced illnesses are living their last days.”
To ensure that the web portal does not limit itself to one-way communication, there are functions in place to facilitate greater interaction. Visitors can “share” a social issues story they like on their respective Facebook page and comment on individual stories, among others.
In addition, the portal acts as a “meeting place” for Methodists and Methodist churches to share news and activities related to social concerns, thereby fostering close-knit relations within the Methodist community.
There is a “Community” section where churches can set up their own page and promote their social concerns ministries. Changi Methodist Church and Grace Methodist Church have started the ball rolling by creating their respective pages.
Visit the new MWS web portal today at www.mws.org.sg and join their Facebook group, “Methodist Welfare Services”.
For more information on the new portal, please contact Chuang Bing Han at 6467-4631 or email him at ChuangBingHan@mws.org.sg
Michelle Tan is the Senior Executive (Communications) of the Methodist Welfare Services.