(Special thanks to Derek Serafin of Motion PR for his assistance, and Tom Kirk of UsToo for his time and input)
When discussing tech and non-profits, it is very easy to think broadly - social media, open source software, and other high-end tools. Thankfully, UsToo provides a great example of using channels to better engage its audience, working towards supporting, educating, and advocating on behalf of men with prostate cancer.
Founded in 1990, UsToo was one of the first voluntary organizations to drive conversation around prostate cancer. Structured in a similar way to YMe's focus on breast cancer, UsToo focused on providing information and support around a disease which is a "silent killer" with no visible early symptoms. Engaging those directly affected by prostate cancer, the organization works to raise awareness, increase media presence, and engage advocacy around a form of cancer which comes second to lung cancer as a source of fatality. However, given the view of prostate cancer as one with no visible symptoms (or "easy cancer"), UsToo works to educate men and their families to take action in terms of screening, treatment, and advocacy.
One of the more forward-thinking aspects of UsToo's engagement has been how they use lesser-known online technology to foster communication between its various chapters. E-Mail is a critical tool for UsToo, as it provides not just a monthly newsletter called the "Hot Sheet", but an information service called "Prostate Pointers" where users can ask questions and gain resources. Webinars have also been a critical piece of UsToo's work, allowing people from diverse locations to acquire knowledge and expertise . Plus, online forums and discussion groups provide plenty of opportunities for families and supporters to share. Granted, this may not have the whiz-bang of current social media, but UsToo is focusing less on the tools and more on their use, building communities and driving engagement.
Want to learn more about UsToo face-to-face? On November 19th, they are working with City Winery on a "Pours for Prostates" fundraising event. For more information and for tickets, please visit the City Winery site (and there will be tickets available at the door).
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