Globe Santa moves into digital realm, expanding reach through social media

From left: Miss Massachusetts Teen USA Madyson Milordi, Steven Reynolds of Sun Life Financial, NESN anchor Naoko Funayama, Attorney General Martha Coakley, Globe photographer Bill Brett, NESN anchor Jamison Coyle, and Miss Massachusetts Sara Kidd helped out at Copley Place.
From left: Miss Massachusetts Teen USA Madyson Milordi, Steven Reynolds of Sun Life Financial, NESN anchor Naoko Funayama, Attorney General Martha Coakley, Globe photographer Bill Brett, NESN anchor Jamison Coyle, and Miss Massachusetts Sara Kidd helped out at Copley Place.

Globe Santa has been bringing Christmas morning joy to thousands and thousands of Boston-area children for 57 years. Spreading the word about the program to both potential recipients and potential donors through print media (The Boston Globe) has been its hallmark for all that time.

But now Globe Santa is moving into the digital realm and expanding the program’s reach by embracing social, as well as print media.

Three years ago, the Globe Santa Facebook page was launched, and this year it has become an integral part of the program’s marketing plan. The page has already been liked by more than 1,200 people.

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“The Globe Santa community, both of families receiving gifts and of families donating, now have a place to share stories of why Globe Santa has been such an important part of their holidays,” said William Connolly, executive director of the Globe Santa program. “It’s also a forum for new members of the Globe Santa community to acknowledge their participation and express their happiness that Globe Santa is there for everyone in the cities and towns of Greater Boston.”

Through its Facebook page, Globe Santa is able to explain how the program works, give credit to donors, promote appearances of Santa’s sleigh across the city, advertise special events designed to raise money for the program, and share photos of celebrities and fans and Santa himself.

Globe Santa is also able to do all that in the pages of the Globe. But Facebook allows people to post their own experiences with the program and share advice and information with others.

One mother posted on Globe Santa’s timeline when gifts she had requested for her 7-year-old daughter arrived.

“Wow, what a surprise!” she said. “So generous of you, and she will be so excited. The gifts are perfect for her! How did you know? I am overwhelmed with this generous blessing. Miracles never cease.”

Other recipients use the page to request information about when they should expect to receive their packages. Globe Santa is always quick to respond.

An anxious mother posted that she was fighting illness and her husband was out of work and said they were relying on Globe Santa for their children’s gifts. “We sent in our form correctly and in a timely manner; however, I have no idea when or how the gifts are sent. Please let me know,” she wrote. “We are desperate.”

Globe Santa responded with a phone number she could call to track her request. The next day, she posted another message saying that her package had arrived.

Other posts are from donors who want to share stories of why they were moved to give to the program.

“Just donated to Globe Santa in my father and brother’s memory,” someone wrote. “Once, long ago, my family was visited by Globe Santa.”

Another poster said that her mother-in-law received gifts from Globe Santa when she was a child. “She said it was the most amazing Christmas she ever had,” she said.

Meanwhile, a regular donor used Facebook to tell the story of how she met her husband through a personal ad in the Globe, “back in the Dark Ages when they ran them.”