Social Media, Fundraising and You

During the coverage of the Haiti earthquakes, we all received multiple invitations to text our donations for Red Cross Haiti relief efforts. The invitation to text donations was everywhere; we saw it on TV, we received e-mails and Tweets with the instructions. Our electronic networks were all sending the same message: this is how to get money to Haiti fast! Out of the 200 million dollars raised for relief so far, 31 million dollars were raised via texting. (These figures provided by Wendy Harmon, in a Chronicle of Philanthropy podcast on 2/10/10). To hear the podcast, go to:

http://philanthropy.com/article/A-Balanced-Look-at/64102/

Certainly, the immediacy and magnitude of the destruction in Haiti led to an outpouring of generosity that would be difficult for most nonprofits to tap. There are also set-up costs for such fundraising campaigns that limit their usefulness to small organizations, but there are some implications for nonprofits that aren’t big, national players as well. For a great summary of what social media is and is not currently doing for philanthropic causes, go to:

http://mashable.com/2010/01/20/social-media-lessons-haiti/

This is a really good article by one of the founders of Zoetica, Geoff Livingson, that can give nonprofits lots to think about concerning ways to use social media to support their resource development efforts.  Before even reading the content, there is a lot to learn from the page he borrowed for his first point. It demonstrates the variety of ways an organization can engage people—many of which are highly transferable to local issues, campaigns and events. Several of Livingston’s “Lessons” offer clues as to how all of us can improve the integration of our traditional and social media messaging, and build both the urgent and the deep story of the needs we are meeting. The biggest implication for me was certainly the need to build social media and outreach strategies that keep new donors engaged for the long-term.