Fundraising and Not For Profit Social Networks

Whoever is supposed to be invoicing me – in fact, whoever hasn’t paid me – hurry up and do so, willya? I should be doing my accounts/taxes, not phaffing around on the ‘net, posting stuff to my blog. 😛 But while I’m here, this is a great quote, from Andrew Rasiej, a political analyst who…

Whoever is supposed to be invoicing me – in fact, whoever hasn’t paid me – hurry up and do so, willya? I should be doing my accounts/taxes, not phaffing around on the ‘net, posting stuff to my blog. 😛

But while I’m here, this is a great quote, from Andrew Rasiej, a political analyst who runs the Web site, a site that tracks how candidates use the Web and how Internet users are affecting the elections. (from public broadcasting site pbs written by Brian Mason, Online NewsHour):

“Online fundraising is a complete misnomer. Money is a byproduct of online communities, not the product, and social networks are representative of the online communities,” he said. “If you want to raise money online by tapping into the fervor of these online communities, then you should do everything you can to bolster or nurture the community. It’s so ludicrous that campaigns are not paying more attention to the social networks.

It immediately came to mind how offline fundraising works. Dinner dances are Events in a community. People who know already each other socially and are in the same milieu get dressed up, hand in embossed tickets at the door, are shown to seats to scoff down yummy food while listening to public speakers and comedians and buying tickets in silent auctions. I love going to fundraisers, and it’s about the only time I wear a dress. Not sure why, respect or something. Not that you needed to know that. Heh.

But it’s important to note that one evening does not a whole social network make. If you try and build an online community focussed solely on fundraising, or what is often simply an evening out for attendees, you will find it empty a lot of the time. So either build the community for those who are passionate about your cause and have lots of things to talk about – and events are just part of that – or build a community for the society ladies and gents and let the fundraising events be a small part of that. Like that Manhattan one that Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton belong to, I forget its name right now. The money is raised, the brand awareness rises, all as a byproduct.

Think of social network built by CMarket , for Fortune Society who have a Prisoner Re-entry program , who now say :

The 7th Annual Prison Art Show was our most successful ever! Congratulations and thank you to everyone who:

  • placed a winning bid
  • attended our live auction on December 13th
  • invited family, friends and community to make their bid to help us help formerly incarcerated individuals

A selection of the work is still being exhibited at the Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery in the Walter Reade Theater in New York City’s famed Lincoln Center until Friday, December 22nd. Please visit the Film Society at Lincoln Center’s website for more information.

The Auction May Be Gone, But Our Mission Goes On!

Even though our auction has ended, our organization and our mission have not. We would greatly appreciate your continued support in terms of time, effort and funding, and will do our best to keep you up to date on future activities.

If you don’t plan ahead of time, you will be scrambling around to keep your community attending when the Purpose has ended. Not a good look!

The exception is if you give the members an opportunity to make money themselves – always a winner in building your membership. Think eBay junkies. 🙂

And, his last line is a self-evident truth no?

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  1. A bit over simplified but point well made. However if a strategy is clearly conceived, well executed and paradigmatic, i.e., leveraging a complete new set of rules. I’m absolutely persuaded that social network-based fund raisers can raise a standard.

    The reason why we are unable to connect the dots and see social networking as means to mobilize masses for cause, be it for fund raising, to stop the Walmartization of our communities or preclude global warming. In few words we are being hoodwinked by the media. We have it all wrong, we think that social networks are powered by (The Wizard of Oz) some guy behind the curtain. When in fact social networks are powered by the people, providing “power to the people.”

    The term social network IMHO is a misnomer. Name a one social network that redeposits a portion of the income it generates off the backs of the masses (i.e., the social network) back into society? Which one has given to aids or cancer research, etc? My position: If they fail to give back, I say the people shut the mother d-o-w-n! Go elsewhere, network on a platform that will support cause.

  2. I have no clue – what ‘Wizard of Oz’? Most social networks are not MySpace or Facebook and we don’t live in one to the exclusion of others. Though Facebook does have a great CAUSES application – some have signed up 300k members already – it’s not the focus of the social network. Which goes to my point.

    Social networks support those with cancer, with aids, those people seeking to connect to improve education, sport, or simply to save a bit of money shopping. Whether a social network online has been built to support teens in distress or new age kooks on a spiritual journey, they still have a PURPOSE. Make the fundraising PART of the overall connecting of members assisting other members and you’ll be on a winner.

    Develop a professional fundraising factory and you’ll find that the only members you will have are those others who are seeking to improve their power base by connecting with other fundraisers.

    I recommend you don’t attempt to raid bona fide online communities that are already supporting terminally ill etc. Many are using the Google AdSense revenue-share-for- fundraising model, and they won’t respect you for not respecting them…

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