Sunday, November 28, 2010

"friending to funding"

This week's chapters discuss some of the more logistical aspects of Networked Nonprofits: funding online and the governing boards. This post is about the former. I'll admit, when I first read these chapters, the ideas seemed a little extreme and not feasible for many organizations. To the book's merit, they do say that the transition to a Networked Nonprofit could be long.

One point the chapter stresses from the beginning is to mix traditional and nontraditional forms of fundraising to maximize the amount raised because while social media has taken off, some people are still more comfortable with traditional forms of givings, such as writing checks. Even though I'm part of the "millenials," I sometimes still prefer more traditional methods of giving. There is something about giving all of your credit card information on a random Web site that means you must really trust whatever organization you are donating. This brings about another point the chapter stresses. It says organizations should focus on young people as donors and to connect with them through social media. I agree that this is a good way to connect to young people, i.e. me; however, I feel that this is may be aimed more at young people who are a bit older than me, i.e. out of college. I hardly ever donate to random organizations online, whether introduced through social media or word-of-mouth. This is because I'm involved in so many organizations and only make money through a part-time job, so no donations are ever random for me. Usually donations are made to organizations through some sort of philanthropy event, mine or friends'. I can't be sure but maybe organizations' social media will be more relevant when I'm out of school.

The chapter goes on to discuss habits/patterns of social media fundraising. Among these habits are using a multichannel strategy, treating donors as partners, thanking donors often, conducting online fundraising contests and using stories to make fundraising personal. This last habit is particularly important to me because this is the strategy we are using for our Safe Harbor video! We are hoping that by putting a face to the story and having such a potent example of domestic violence that we can help women find help. The chapter also discusses "click actions" or clicking to support a cause that leverages a donation from sponsors. It specifically mentions a game called FreeRice which I absolutely love and have been playing for a couple of years now. Obviously I knew I was helping by playing the game but I never even thought about the PR strategy that went into it, but really it's quite clever. A site similar to this is This site isn't a game or anything but you can click every day to provide food for people who need it. There are also tabs at the top where you can click for several other causes.

Also, on a completely random thought that has nothing to do with the chapters discussed except that it's philanthropic, I saw a Toy Run today in Anderson! Toy Runs are events where bikers ride around all day to support Toys for Tots; usually a toy is part of the participation fee and sometimes the bikers actually transport toys from collection bins to kids. Basically, there were hundreds of bikers in Anderson today, riding for a cause. I think this is pretty cool since bikers aren't usually seen as a philanthropic group. Here's an example of a pretty big toy run: The Big Texas Toy Run. This is also a good example of a grassroots organization since these toy runs are held all over the country without any official sponsors or leaders.

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