Monthly Archives: July 2009

The Summer of Social Good, a thoughtful and thorough response, and my consideration

First I read:  http://philanthropy.com/news/prospecting/8739/an-expert-on-social-media-seeks-to-raise-money-for-charities

Then I clicked: http://summerofsocialgood.com/

And then I read: http://www.queerideas.co.uk/my_weblog/2009/06/whats-wrong-with-the-mashables-summer-of-social-good.html

I appreciate how carefully queerideas qualified his constructive criticism of this particular summer effort — I find the community of nonprofit tech-friendlies to be pretty kind-hearted and willing to engage in discourse instead of argument (hence Adam Hirsch’s nice reply to the post).

Those generous and patient readers of my blog know that I hold a truth to be self-evident:I think the two scariest people in the world are the 24-year-old social networking expert who doesn’t see the value in ‘old-skool’ fundraising efforts because of their lack of immediacy and efficiency, and the 57-year-old database administrator who doesn’t want to learn about social networking apps, let alone understand the ROI structures evolving around their use.

My dream, realized at neither traditional fundraising association conferences nor nonprofit technology conferences, is that these two groups talk to each other differently. Very few of the individuals I met at NTEN this spring have actually walked into someone’s home and asked for a gift, face to face. Very few of the individuals I met at AFP are integrating social media appeals in their solicitation arsenals (although there are bloggers and tweeters in the mix).

So, my thought about the Summer of Social Good, Twestival, Tweetsgiving, and other attempts at this on-line giving effort, is that they are necessary experiments. It appears to be the case that the donors likely know/respect the sponsoring individual(s)/entities and don’t really need to share the passion for the causes the espoused — they care that the individual/entity meets their goal. Quite frankly, the giving is terrific and seemingly in scale to the needs as represented, but these are not earth-shattering donation totals. 

I’m throwing my hat in with queerideas’ suggestions for improvement, which are so well-articulated that it’s really worth going directly to his post for his phrase-ology. 

I would add an additional suggestion: document the hell out of these efforts, because the scale of giving is not going to turn the heads of the ‘old-skool’ major gift and annual fund operators. Great reporting on ROI is increasingly critical for fundraising, not just for click-through.  Getting old-skoolers on board with investment in message-sharing and communication market saturation is one thing, but showing that the money is coming in larger amounts from the same returning donors is far more interesting than one-off small-gift donor acquisitions that cannot demonstrate ever-increasing income yield.  Look at measurement in this way:  how many donors this time vs. last time you made this appeal; how many donors returned and how many were first-time donors; how many returning donors gave less, the same or more than last time;  did the overall dollar totals decrease, stay the same or increase this time vs. last time; if designated uses were identified, did the percentages designated for each use shift; are the stratified gift levels showing increases at the higher dollar amounts, and are the lower levels sustained;… I gots a big list of fundraising effectiveness measures one could apply if one does not have anything else to do too.

So give Mashable love for the effort, and give queerideas an open-hearted listen, and accept my apology for my multipixel-cents .  It’s energizing to see movement and efforts continue and grow in the fundraising side of social media.

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