From the NTEN Conference: Whoa, Nelly! Web 2.0 is Cool, But …
At last month’s Nonprofit Technology Conference in New Orleans, nonprofit techies and professional fundraisers met up to discuss the emerging best practices for fundraising using social networks and social media. Their conversations were overwhelmed by one small detail. Few nonprofits have succeeded in raising large amounts of money using blogs, widgets and fundraising applications for social networks.
Nine months since the high-profile launch of Facebook Causes and well over a year since the first articles on Web 2.0 fundraising started to appear, members of the nonprofit tech community seemed to be turning against the new-fangled tools for online fundraising. The traditional staples of online fundraising — a well-cultivated e-mail list, the ubiquitous “donate now” button and a coherent well-designed Web site — appeared to be making a full-fledged comeback.
The collective reality check succeeded in undoing the media hype that has surrounded initiatives like Facebook Causes, whose founders incidentally chose not to attend the conference. Nonprofits are now better equipped to find the right balance between traditional online fundraising and innovative approaches to community building. Sooner or later, the hard-won online community that forms around a nonprofit’s work may respond overwhelmingly to a fundraising appeal. But, with a few exceptions, it hasn’t yet.
Below are three key takeaways related to Web 2.0 fundraising from this year’s Nonprofit Technology Conference. These insights will help social media advocates within organizations convince others to embrace community building on social networks as a long-term fundraising strategy.
1. No one ever gives because of a fundraising tool.
In a session called “The Seven Things Everyone Wants: What Freud and Buddha Understood (and We’re Forgetting) About Online Outreach,” Katya Andresen, vice president of marketing for Network for Good, and Mark Rovner, president/CEO of Sea Change Strategies, put social-media tools in their proper place — the toolbox.