Tag Archives: Facebook

Earlier today… a toe in the water {revisited} talk

When Brendon Veale from Wellington Zoo introduced me at today’s FINZ Central Division learning lunch he said I was going to shed some light on the world of online fundraising. What a big topic!!. I only had an hour so I quickly let everyone know my slightly narrower focus: an exploration of how to use social media and networking to attract support and get donations.

There was an interest in online fundraising in general, so I was pleased to have found references to some recent guides. As well as the one I mentioned during my talk – The 2008 Online Fundraising Survival Guide: 12 Winning Strategies to Survive & Thrive in a Down Economy, by Network for Good – I’ve listed a couple more resources on a blog post about the talk. See: “A toe in the water {revisited}”, and also my presentation on Slideshare.

My talk was based on an article published in “Fundraising in New Zealand” last September. I suggested caution at the time, and nothing I’ve read nor the people I’ve talked to have changed my mind on that.

I didn’t collect any references from the people participating about good examples of online fundraising using social networks. There is a tentativeness, almost wariness about all this – we know we have to get up to speed, but not just now. As one person I spoke to suggested – they’d need to set aside a lot of time to come up to read about what is required to be successful.

Other questions related to the loss of control implied by using social networks – what happens when your supporters take the message in their hands. What will I tell this boss if things go awry? A perfectly understandable reaction – and something I don’t come up against being a freelancer. However, I do think there are some answers to these potential dilemmas.

I presented two examples of people using for personal fundraising appeals, including Give a little, there were questions about making the leap from using social media like Facebook, YouTube and others, for individual appeals to using them for organisations. While I think it is possible, particularly by empowering supporters to take your cause out there, it’s not something I know a lot about.

I’m naturally cautious about trends and fads, and I’d include twitter amongst those. It’s the latest craze, with no little hype. A few NZ organisations like Greenpace and Oxfam are beginning to use Twittter, and I’m sure they’ll work out if they fit their needs (or just die away). Over on Beth Kanter’s blog she quotes Ivan Booth who said:

Begin with your campaign’s strategy — the food you want to eat. Then determine which technologies will best cultivate the fire within your supporters to achieve the social change you seek.

It’s something I endorsed. (See Beth’s original post “Twitter for Activism Tool VS Strategy Debate and A New Twitter Activism Guide” on 14 April 2009.)

I really enjoyed the session and would invite anyone who attended (or didn’t make it) to follow-up by making comments or sending me questions.

Another tag:

How much time for Facebook, etc?

After I submitted my article for publication on social media to “Fundraising in NZ” there were a couple of areas I would have liked to cover in a lot of depth:

1. How much time does it take ?
2. Where do social networks fit beside more traditional online communication using websites and email?

I’ve since come across a couple of blog posts that attempt to answer these questions.

Beth Kanter has mashed up a useful table that simplifies the picture (see below). She suggests breaking your approach into stages: listening, participating, creating a buzz, sharing your story, and community building and social networking. To start with allow five hours to listen. If you want to run an online community, a minimum of 20 hours is required.

Diagram: How many hours per week does it take to use social media? Source: Beth's blog

Diagram: How many hours per week does it take to use social media? Source: Beth's blog

A caution, it can take several months for the effort to pay off. See Beth’s full post and discussion “How Much Time Does It Take To Do Social Media?” (1 October 2008).

Laura S. Quinn at Idealware says it’s important to for each organisation to think carefully about its unique audiences before diving into social networking.

The size and mission of the organization might come into play here – a larger organization that’s targeting internet-savvy audiences might find that it’s worthwhile to invest much more energy in online outreach, while just maintaining a website and email communications status quo. But a smaller organization might get better return on focusing first on creating a strong website and email infrastructure, before investing in finding new online friends (after all, it’s a good website and email strategy that will help keep your friends, after you find them).

With a $30,000 budget (oh, I wish) Laura would split it equally three ways:

  • 1/3rd upgrading and maintaining your website
  • 1/3rd crafting a solid email communications strategy and putting out solid communications
  • 1/3rd online outreach, creating things like viral movies or petitions, social network sites, etc.

Read more at “Prioritizing Websites vs. Email vs. Online Outreach”.

While not exactly definitive, these articles might help organisations thinking about diving into social networking.

BTW: Read my article “A toe in the water – using social networks for your cause”. This is republished courtesy of the publishers of “Fundraising in New Zealand’s”, Foresee Communications – specialists in fundraising and sponsorship.

Suggestions for Global Giving UK?

I’ve just received an email from Svetlana who’s helping to set up the UK arm of charity giving website Global Giving. The website concept is simple: visitors “browse ways to help others around the world, pick the ones you are most passionate about, and give to the solution.”

To spread the word about the UK website Svetlana wants to tap into social media. She says:

I am looking into new and more innovating ways to market GlobalGiving. I am exploring different social media channels to increase GlobalGivings’s presence to both donors and charity partners.

In particular, Svetlana’s asking for suggestions of UK experts in social media to help non-profits acheive their goals.

My tips are below, but first, dear reader, I’d like to put Svetlana’s question to you. Make a comment if you can help.

One of the things Svetlana thinks would be helpful is to get people blogging for Global Giving, or featuring the organisation on their blogs. A first step to find bloggers would be to search for releveant blogs in Technorati or using Google Blog Search.

There are a few UK social media experts worth following up on:

There’s lots of links on each of these sites to other people working in a similar field. Plus take a look at the ICT hub supplier directory run by LASA, and you might be able to get a message asking for suggestions on to the UK circuit rider network email list.

And I can’t resist pointing towards Beth Kanter from Boston. Beth has very wide networks in this field, so making a comment on her blog or getting in touch could be useful. Incidentally Beth interviewed Global Giving’s CEO in April (see her post “Meet Donna Callejon, Chief Operating Officer of Global Giving“).

I can’t think of a better way of getting publicity from your cause than directly asking bloggers to write about your organisation or work. You’re off to a good start.

Best wishes to Global Giving UK – may you be inundated with blog posts and support .

Downtown Community Ministry now on Facebook

Downtown City Ministry logo

I actually struggled to find the Downtown Community Ministry (DCM) page on Facebook. Being a Facebook absolute beginner I found all sorts of other ministries, mostly run by fundamentalist christians, before I arrived at DCM’s page.

When I got there I found a very short description of what DCM do, an advert for the upcoming bookfair on 1 September, a few photos and links to friends of DCM (currently 7 people) and related groups.

Launching the Facebook page David Cross, the Ministry’s Events and Communications Coordinator, wrote in DCM’s 8th August email bulletin that an aim of Downtown Community Ministry is to create a more inclusive world, including the online environment obviously.

“Sites like Facebook show how interconnected our lives are. They effectively map our social and professional relationships. However, they also demonstrate the exclusion that society permits” David says.

DCM’s primary work is finding solutions to social issues and providing practical grassroots support to people in need. Fortunately not everyone needs to sign-up to Facebook to get help, though David is encouraging people who support their work to join.

At the moment I’m not sure if I’ll become a DCM Facebook friend, because I really think I should add something to my profile before I do. Also I’ve got a strong sense of reluctance doing this at the moment. It’s not only the time that it will take that puts me off, but it’s actually because I don’t know how much I want to share of myself with complete strangers.

Some people have obviously poured out their hearts. A few of the profiles I had a quick look at are long, with lists of hobbies, relationships and schools, full virtual bookshelfs, and maps of where people have travelled. Plus there are links to friends, who anyone can be nosy about, and comments (sometimes witty).

Scanning the list of DCM friends I see a Richard Davis listed. I’m wondering if he is the same person who was webmaster extrodinaire for the Churches Agency on Social Issues and the Presbyterian Church. I haven’t heard from him for several years, and I could now be back in touch with him at the click of a button.

This is perhaps one of the types of interconnection that David Cross is talking about. Thanks to DCM for opening my eves to the world of social networking, even if I keep on the sidelines, for now.