Welcome to Giving 2.0
FundRaising Success was born in November 2003. Not long after, we introduced our first e-letter, the FS Advisor. The theme of that first Advisor was Web-based fundraising.
Back then, raising money online seemed so exotic. Some organizations were doing it, of course, but the sector seemed as a whole to be standing on the edge of the pool of e-philanthropy, dipping its collective big toe into the undulating waters before scurrying back to the relative safety of poolside cabanas crafted of letterhead and No. 10 envelopes. Then there was that little subset that dove in headfirst and actually made some inroads, despite quite a bit of noisy and nervous flailing.
Here we are almost five years later. Extremists on both sides of the equation — diehards who sniff that this Internet stuff has no place in the relationship-focused world of philanthropy, and those all-or-nothing types who say direct mail is dead — have been silenced, for the most part. Most organizations realize that, in 2008 and beyond, true fundraising success will come to those that find a happy balance. Those that — to extend a metaphor way beyond its natural cleverness — sail the waters of e-philanthropy and “2.0” steadfastly afloat on a raft of the tried-and-true tenets and tactics.
But this still is a provocative time to be a fundraiser. E-mail campaigns. Videos that get 5,000 hits on YouTube faster than you can lick a stamp. Social-media outlets that allow supporters and naysayers alike to talk about your brand, your mission — to talk about you — with a thousand of their closest friends with one click of the “Post Blog” button. The friendraising versus fundraising debate. SEO. SMS. RSS …
So, we thought, the time is right for Giving 2.0, a twice-monthly (for now) e-letter offering insights for fundraisers who are ready to add a whole new universe of strategies to their mix. I wanted to say “best practices” — for there indeed will be a lot of those — but truth be told, some of the ways folks are raising money and awareness in the world of 2.0 haven’t been around long enough to have a concrete set of best practices established for them yet.