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May 2010

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Phyllis Zimbler Miller

I absolutely agree with you that fundraising with social media tools will become mainstream for everyone who is already using email (discounting those dinosaurs who refuse to do anything online). Even the part I played in using Twitter to raise funds for the recent Operation Soldier Care demonstrated the power of social media fundraising.

P.S. I was in my neighborhood restaurant yesterday when an elderly man said to his two elderly companions, "I saw his picture on Facebook." My head swiveled around as I thought to myself, "If that guy is on Facebook, can the rest of the U.S. population be far behind?"

C.L. Everett

Interesting. I hope you're right. I tend to be more cynical, I guess, given the resistance NPOs (in general) have to technology--i.e how far behind most small NPOs I'm aware of are. And then, of course, there's the IT lockdown factor.

But still, I'm hopeful. I have a task upcoming with my NPO to sell tickets to the SF Gay Mens' Chorus and to solicit donations of items for a silent auction (all this in the Central Valley)and I can't get my NPO to set up a PayPal account--tell me it costs too much.


Hi Beth - I think your are spot on! I am getting ready to launch a humanitarian project next week and social media is going to be a very large part of our operational plan.

Grant Young

Hi Beth.

I too believe that social media/networking will become a core part of many NGO's operations. I think there's a natural fit between the objectives of NGOs and the social media space - some of which I've outlined on my blog:

I question, though, how much fundraising will be done via these networks. I think their strength is in organising, not fundraising. And I don't think that Gen Y getting older is necessarily going to result in more donations directly through these networks.

But instead these networks will be used to grow an active base of supporters, and this growth will naturally increase donations through alternate means (i.e. non-social-media-based online and offline fundraising activities).

Erin McMahon

I think you've got it right Beth. In the time it will take (the majority of) those who most actively use social media to - as you put it- come into their own as donors, nonprofits have the opportunity to become comfortable with the technology and, likewise, come into their own as users of social media tools.

Of course the sooner we can adopt social media tools, the better, because building the relationships now means we've got developed relationships later. :)

Stephen Peacock

I couldn't agree more social media will become a central piece of a well-oiled development operation for most all NPOs. It is true that nonprofits tend to be cautious when embracing new technologies. I recall early days when there was a real debate about whether or not to invest first in a website and then a few years later in adding online donation capabilities. But as you and others have observed, there is such a tight correlation between the goals of effective fund raising and the outcomes of effective use of social media tools - namely community and relationship building, that integration is fairly well assured.

Like others I am working on launching a new project that will tightly integrate social media tools as a core component of our effort.

Beth Kanter

Some stats

Ashley Messick

Great post Beth!

I do agree that right now social media play more of a part in "friend-raising" than fund raising. But by allowing people to feel more engaged and giving them something to do (rather than just a place to simply donate) builds a stronger donor base than traditional nonprofit outreach. As a Gen Y-er who has never known adult life without the benefits of Facebook and other social media tools, I can say that I imagine as I get older and my capacity to give grows I will be less likely to give to nonprofits that do not catch my attention in my online social circles. My boss likes to point out that it is unlikely that you will receive a $1 million gift online any time soon. However, I think that we will begin to see people giving $1K to $10K online, in part thanks to the engagement that is possible with online communities from social media. It is certainly a start!

Qui Diaz

The Internet is just a medium. As long as relationships continue to develop through in-person encounters - not just the digital face book - then big money online is possible. Social networks are 24/7 exposure and maintenance points to help seal the deal.

My money is on the millennials. Club Penguin is digital bootcamp for hyper connected, empowered minds.

Also, my crystal ball says that things are going to become very localized. I'm just coming out of a weekend in the woods with 50 remarkable people who think my iPhone is from outer space. They are not on Facebook, they do not read blogs. Social media has nothing to offer their offline community ties.

While there will always be be people who elect to stay outside of online social networks, some of these uber-community builders will use tools to do what they do better. Geographically speaking, this means tight-knit giving circles for neighbors and local needs.

Maybe we'll see sister cities and towns develop partnerships to help meet needs across geographic divides, pairing strengths and vulnerabilities with urban with rural citizens. Core needs will help rationalize and bolster the currently superfluous digital realm.

Can't wait to read the full prediction!

Barbara Kelly

I agree wholeheartedly with your prediction and think the day will come when online giving is as ubiquitous as online shopping. I liked Ashley's comments about nonprofits needing to attract attention with social media tools and wanted to make a mention of the new (last week) ammado Giving Circle which graphically displays what each individual donor is giving to as a way of inspiring and motivating friends and others to give ( This also relates to Qui's comment, but takes it beyond any geographical limit which is the power of social media to create communities across countries, physical, cultural or linguistic boundaries. Thanks always for the discussion starters, Beth!

Beth Kanter

adding Lucy's predictions for the 2008 giving season here

Beth Kanter

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