Social Media: Shifting Values, Saving Lives

Marieke van der Velden
Social Media Specialist, British Columbia SPCA

There are two goals all shelters have in common: changing the community mindsets about animals in our society and saving more lives. Social media plays a major role in achieving these goals. The BC SPCA uses innovative ideas to create change in their community, and maintains a Facebook engagement rate on average of 60% compared to the general 10% in the non-profit world.

The workshop will detail strategies that have proven to be successful by the BC SPCA on how to create an environment on social media to drive engagement and build community, by focusing on positive messaging. Example strategies we will explore are: turning the spotlight on community members making a difference, celebrating community successes that set the bar high, and the importance of telling a story beginning to end. I will present strategies with concrete examples that will be straightforward and easy to implement into your own social media platforms.

Aside from driving engagement and building community, social media plays a role in fund development and bringing in both monetary donations as well as other forms of support. I will share successes we’ve had and challenges we’ve faced when raising funds through our social platforms at the BC SPCA and how it can help bring in new donors.

Finally, we’ll talk about metrics and how to track success. Exploring the challenge of tracking success, I’ll illustrate ways on how to use these statistics to determine your strategy going forward.

Key learnings:
1. You will learn tried-and-true, easy to implement strategies to drive engagement and build a strong community on social media through highlighting and celebrating successes
2. You will learn how to look at your metrics and use them to determine your strategy
3. You will learn how to bring in monetary donations and other means of support through social media channels


Marieke van der Velden
When she first met Pailin, an elephant recovering from past suffering at a rescue centre in Thailand, Marieke knew she was meant to follow her lifelong love for animals and make a difference. That’s why she is always happy to see an animal find a loving, forever home through a social media post. Since joining the BC SPCA as a social media specialist two years ago, Marieke has grown the non-profit’s social media platforms exponentially, engaging the audience with everything from the funny to the informative. Whether a hilarious meme or educational infographic, she excels at facilitating productive online discussion and using it to increase support and facilitate change.