Eugene Nonprofit #3 – FOOD for Lane County

FOOD for Lane County headquarters, located off Bailey Hill Road in west Eugene.

Today I will be blogging on FOOD for Lane County (FFLC), a “501(c)(3) nonprofit food bank founded in 1984 and dedicated to eliminating hunger by creating access to food.” Through a network of more than 100 social service agencies and programs, they provide food to low-income residents of the Eugene-Springfield area. Much of this food is donated to the nonprofit via food drives. They network with a huge list of partner agencies, and are affiliated with United Way of Lane County, the Oregon Food Bank Statewide Network, and is a distribution partner of Feeding America.

FFLC uses Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Vimeo (a video-sharing website similar to YouTube). They also maintain two blogs: Community Food Organizing in Rural Lane County – run by FFLC Community Food Organizer Danielle Hummel – and Living on Less, where Food Resource Developer Alicia Hines shows what it’s like to live off of $31.50 a week for food.

Of these, only Facebook and Twitter are advertised in the top right corner of the webpage. LinkedIn, which isn’t advertised, appears to be completely vacated, while FFLC sporadically uploads videos onto Vimeo. Both the blogs are found under the “News & Events” menu. While Hummel updates Community Food Organizing on a roughly weekly basis, Living on Less only spans the course of a single week (since the blog was only intended to last a week, this is irrelevant).

However, FFLC updates both Facebook and Twitter on a roughly daily basis. Their last Facebook post as of this writing is a Vimeo video about their latest partner agency, Valley United Methodist Church. On Twitter, their last tweet as of today reads as follows:

Come to Footwise Shoestore on February 11th (That’s 3 days before Valentine’s Day) and get your sweety or friend some nice looking kicks….

Sometimes FFLC will tweet or post on Facebook multiple times in a day. This constant updating shows continuous engagement with their  audience through these mediums, a fact no doubt appreciated by residents of a county where a third of the population is eligible for emergency food. While their appearance in other social media formats is inconsistent at best, this can be forgiven by their lack of prominence. Both their LinkedIn and Vimeo pages only appear as part of their ZMOT.

In fact, their ZMOT demonstrates a remarkably strong control of their media presence. A Google search for FFLC produced the following results:

Also worth noting is the appearance of GreatNonprofits on Google’s right sidebar, which is normally reserved for advertisements. On here, FFLC is distinguished as a Top-Rated nonprofit for 2009. Every single one of the 14 reviews posted on the page – most, fittingly, from 2009 – give FFLC 5 stars. Peggy Hinsman, who wrote two reviews, is the author of the most recent review:

Oregon is a state with the highest percentage of people who lack finances for eating well. FOOD for Lane County does a remarkable job of helping those who don’t have enough money to purchase healthy food for their families. Every month and year I support FOOD for Lane County by donating money at Market of Choice, donating bowls at their yearly fund raiser, and donated food when the post office does a food drive for FOOD for Lane County.

Clearly FFLC enjoys a strong following in the Eugene-Springfield. Not only do they support a good cause, but they effectively communicate their message through a relatively narrow number of channels. It would be difficult to criticize FFLC’s approach at social media, especially since they edged out the Greenhill Humane Society and Planned Parenthood for first place in Best Nonprofit. Perhaps they could eliminate social media channels they don’t use (LinkedIn?) and increase their news coverage? Otherwise, keep up the good work!

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