Posted by: sweadickblog | November 28, 2016

Engaging Social Capital on Facebook


In 2008, I began my first fundraising and running journey for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). I remember the idea of a “social” fundraising effort by engaging my Facebook community wasn’t just scary, it sounded as stupid to me as running my first marathon. I had no business running a marathon, so I didn’t want to share that with my world, and did anyone even know what leukemia or lymphoma was or why they (or I) should care?

I have learned that people do want to support you and that I can engage my Facebook network to raise thousands of dollars for charity every year. I can use Facebook in many different ways and know that some are supportive of my passions, some respect my commitment to volunteering and fundraising for research and cures for others, some donate because they have a connection to blood cancer, and many are just pretty amazed that I undertake this incredibly hard effort of finishing 26.2 miles, again and again.

In the field of communications, “social capital has often been operationalized as psychometric measures of perceived access to resources derived from one’s social connections” (Ellison, Vitak, Gray, & Lampe, 2014). Using Facebook for fundraising is not a new idea, but have you ever tried monetizing the social capital of your Facebook network or learning about a charity someone in your social circle supports? This week is Giving Tuesday, maybe it’s time to check out the positive energy and fundraising power of your Facebook community.


  1. I really think social capital is an interesting subject. As an artist with a small following online, I find that I can’t sell product on Facebook, unless I’m spending money on Facebook advertising.
    My pictures and posts get plenty of interactions, but when it comes to promoting product, like an album or an event, it doesn’t seem to reach anyone. My friends are even surprised when I tell them I put an album out 3-months ago, because they didn’t hear about it; which is interesting to me, considering how often I post about it.
    I’ve done a little philanthropy on Facebook, and that worked out great. I was participating in a food drive, and I received donations from over-seas to purchase food for the drive. It was definitely a success.
    I wonder what Facebook is doing in these circumstances.

  2. Today was the first time I attempted to monetize my social capital on Facebook. I was a bit nervous to post my request because I was afraid that nobody would ‘like’ my post and it would get lost in the noise of their newsfeeds.

    Here is my Facebook post:

    I cannot ignore the injustice that is happening around the world right now. In December I will wear a dress everyday to raise awareness and funds to end human trafficking! The money I raise will benefit International Justice Mission and A21. I gave $20 because both organizations give women and men the tools to THRIVE, not just survive, after being rescued.

    This #GivingTuesday join me in advocating for the voice and dignity of all people! Your donation can change lives. #itsbiggerthanadress

    This class has taught me that I have a voice online. This class has taught me that I have the power to engage with my online community or be silent. This December I choose to use my voice online to advocate for others.

    I have not be a victim of human trafficking, however I was convicted to act, because although I am miles and miles away from where the crime of human trafficking or slavery is happening, I have SOCIAL CAPITAL.

    I will leave you with this quote. “As we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same.” – Malala Yousafzai

    Skye, thank you for shining your light. You have showed me that I have nothing to be nervous about while attempting to monetize my social capital on Facebook. You’re my first donor!

  3. Thank you for the comments!

    I have spent a lot of my free time volunteering and fundraising and know that it is one of the best things that I do. I still struggle with the fundraising and really work hard at avoiding it (despite the cause and my passion.) I overcome it by focusing on the mission. I also am supporting causes that impact children and they need a TEAM of support because they often do not have a voice yet and have not had a chance to make any life choices, but fighting to survive.

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