Red Deer hospital foundation gets social media hand

New team promoting activities including Festival of Trees

A small army of social media aficionados will be taking to the Internet in support of the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation.

Cynthia de Boer, marketing manager with the foundation, said Friday that while they knew that social media was important to help get their message out into the community, the charity has limited resources.

So they put out a call for volunteers to be on a committee to promote the foundation’s cause and had an overwhelming response from people in the communications industry. Now they have 10 people who will start with the Festival of Trees to use social media to promote awareness of the foundation and the work it does.

The 23rd annual Festival of Trees runs Nov. 23 to 27 at Westerner Park. The festival is the foundation’s biggest fundraiser, and draws thousands of people and hundreds of volunteers to a variety of events, not the least of which is viewing the dozens of artistically decorated Christmas trees.

The festival funds go toward various needs at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. This year the money will go toward the Medical Specialty Unit, which helps people with acute and chronic illnesses such as multiple sclerosis and heart failure. The funds are phase two, as last year the $1,060,00 also went to the unit.

Over previous years, the Festival of Trees has raised about $13 million in total to help the hospital and the patients it serves.

De Boer said the new social media team will be there any time the foundation wants to let the community know they’ve done something, such as purchase new equipment.

They will use hashtags like #reddeertreefest2016 for the festival and #rdrhfoundation throughout the year.

At the Festival of Trees there will be a social media booth, and fun ways for the public to connect such as getting their photo taken with their favourite tree. The volunteers are very engaged, they support the cause and they have the skills, said de Boer.

The need for health care never goes away, and the social media team is a new way to try and let the community the foundation still needs donor dollars, she said.

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