Eugene Nonprofit #5 – HIV Alliance

HIV Alliance's location off Garden Avenue, near Wendy's and across from Hirons.

To clarify any conflicts of interest here, my cousin is the Prevention Outreach Coordinator for HIV Alliance, the subject for today’s blog. This nonprofit states their mission as “[s]upporting individuals living with HIV/AIDS and preventing new HIV infections.” However, HIV Alliance is unique in including a vision statement, stating they “will be an international model for effective and efficient HIV prevention, advocacy, care and education.” They further clarify what they mean by their vision statement, addressing such concerns as the lack of resources to address HIV/AIDS, the severity of the disease, and the current socio-political climate impeding action.

HIV Alliance has roots that date back to 1985, when Shanti in Oregon first organized volunteers to help HIV/AIDS victims and their families with both emotional support and health care. The modern organization was founded in 1994 by a merger between HIV/AIDS Resources and Lane County AIDS Hospice Services. Today they provide HIV case management in six Oregon counties, dental care in 18 counties, and prevention and education programs in the Eugene-Springfield area.

Unlike other local nonprofits, HIV Alliance doesn’t post links to their social media websites (although they do post their Twitter feed in the bottom left corner of their homepage). Although they do have FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn pages, their social media engagement is relatively minimal compared to other local nonprofits. Neither are maintained on a daily basis, although sometimes multiple posts are made in a day. They made their latest Facebook today about the link between African American women and HIV/AIDS. Twitter is even less frequently updated, with the last tweet made on February 21 about Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UN AIDS.

HIV Alliance have an important message and an ambitious, international vision that needs to be heard. However, without correctly implementing social media – especially Facebook and Twitter – they risk their message drowning in the sea of information. While more social media channels is not necessarily important, and they do feature a lot of events, frequently communicating with their audience is especially important in a world where the government is hostile to their cause.

Their ZMOT demonstrates a relatively strong, clear focus on their organization and its mission. A Google search for HIV Alliance produced the following results:

Aside from the links to the Iowa and international groups – probably an accident due to the similar names – HIV Alliance’s ZMOT demonstrates focus on the nonprofit, their mission and their work in the community. Even the accidental links are an interesting connection. The International HIV/AIDS Alliance in particular feeds into their vision of being an international model.

However, if anything impedes HIV Alliance’s mission, it would have to be their aforementioned lack of social media engagement. While their simplification of it can be used to their advantage by the lack of clutter, it is important for them to inform their followers with information about their organization and the HIV/AIDS cause on a regular, consistent basis. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter offers HIV Alliance the best opportunity for them to engage in the two-way communication that is critical to sustaining their mission. In other words, use it or lose it.

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