Social Media in Crisis: How Social Media Created a NPO and Relief during a Wildfire Crisis

Social Media in Crisis: How Social Media Created a NPO and Relief during a Wildfire Crisis

Lauren Bacon Brengarth (University of Colorado Colorado Springs, USA), Edin Mujkic (University of Colorado Colorado Springs, USA) and Meg A. Millar (University of Colorado Colorado Springs, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8188-0.ch001
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Abstract

This case study examines how social media tools were used by a Nonprofit Organization (NPO) to raise money during a catastrophic fire in the Western United States. The fire claimed over 18,000 acres of forestland, nearly 350 homes, and 2 human lives. When it occurred, it was the most catastrophic fire event to hit this community. This case illuminates specific ways in which social media provided the key tools that enabled the creation of this NPO, the sale of hundreds of thousands of tee shirts in one month, and ultimately dollars donated to aid the victims of the fire. This case is unique because it is the story of an organization that was created overnight because individuals in the organization's social system rapidly evaluated and adopted their innovation. Additionally, opinion leaders (particularly those in traditional media) within the social system aided the NPO in rapidly establishing legitimacy with its followers.

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