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Articles

Incorporating Facebook into Nonprofit Supports for Family Caregivers: Reflections on its Value and Relevance

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Pages 129-141 | Received 31 Jul 2018, Accepted 15 May 2019, Published online: 17 Jun 2019
 

Abstract

Social media has a role in the lives of many family carers. We present a case study of Facebook (FB) use in Care Alliance Ireland, a small Irish not-for-profit carer support organization. In 2012, in its role as coordinator of National Carers Week, Care Alliance Ireland set up a Facebook page to increase reach and awareness of the week amongst family caregivers who used Facebook. Philanthropic donations in the early years of FB use enabled the large-scale and relatively efficient recruitment of followers through targeted social media ads. By July 2018, the organization’s FB page had secured upwards of 18,500 followers, over 75% of whom report as being either current or former family carers. This article posits that regular, considered, and varied posts offer a level of support and affirmation for the caring role that has a large reach, is cost effective, and represents an effective quasi-social work intervention.

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank our board of directors for their support and in particular to thank Deirdre Shanagher, Chair, Board of Directors Research Committee. We would also like to thank Dr. David Wilkerson, Indiana University School of Social Work, for his review.

Disclosure statement

None declared.

Notes

2 The page is available to view, without a FB account, at www.facebook.com/nationalcarersweek

3 The source of the funds was part of the residual funds residing in a charitable trust connected with the Educational Building Society (Ireland), a financial institution based in the Republic of Ireland.

4 The authors did not at the time specifically document the change in volume of social media posts from not-for-profits and do not have the resources to do this retrospectively.

5 As Carers Week takes place annually in the second week of June each year, the posting and engagement frequency peaks during this month.

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