From the NTEN Conference: Whoa, Nelly! Web 2.0 is Cool, But …
Rather than embracing new fundraising tools because they’re new and glittery, Andresen and Rovner encouraged nonprofits to remember seven key desires of potential donors: to be seen and heard; to be connected; to be part of something greater than themselves; to have hope for the future; to trust others; to be of service; and to want happiness for themselves and others.
A Web 1.0 Web site would have a hard time meeting any of the seven needs listed above. A well-managed and well-conceived social network, on the other hand, could do the trick. Nonprofits must consider how potential donors interact with the profiles they create on various social networks and then find ways to make the experiences resonate.
2. Be Prepared for Katrina-like Moments.
In “Turning Your Social Networks Into Donations,” Care2’s Justin Perkins and Heather Holdridge featured the question, “Are you ready to reach several hundred thousand people who trust your organization?”
The presenters then shared an example of how in the week following hurricane Katrina, Care2 helped the American Humane Society raise $205,000 from 5,000 new donors to support animal rescue efforts in New Orleans. Without an online community of engaged supporters, Care2 would not have been able to assist in this way.
Social networks provide nonprofits with an affordable toolkit with which to build online communities. Maintaining these communities is hard work and might not appear to be in an organization’s short-term interest. And yet, as newsworthy moments arise, nonprofits quickly can turn a semi-dormant community of supporters into an active hub of fundraising and advocacy.
Change.org founder Ben Rattray made a similar point during his session titled “Group Fundraising: How Does It Work and What’s Out There?” After summarizing the pros and cons of wired fundraising, Rattray shared a diagram that places a nonprofit in the center of a networked group of supporters. This diagram illustrates how a nonprofit can both empower constituents and remain central to the messaging, orientation and direction of the human community that forms around it.