The means to communicate quickly online and establish networks of like-minded folks come thick and fast these days: MySpace superseded by Facebook (still king), challenged by Twitter, who has had to contend with Google Buzz!, Socialvibe, Zooppa, and a myriad of others that (mostly) cater to fairly specific communities. We have reported about how a North Carolina charity established a ‘Twitter Table’ to help broaden the outreach of its annual fundraising luncheon. Now a comparatively new social network is causing a bit more stir among the e-connected, and it too is the subject of an online discussion next week about how to use it as a resource for fundraising.
The software in question is Foursquare.com, a networking site that emphasizes your local experience while broadcasting it to the larger community. It began as a means to offer quick reviews of restaurants, theaters, and local shops (thus the ‘four squares’ of an intersection with businesses on each corner). But since when does a social networking site stay within the confines of its original portfolio? Foursquare’s focus on the local has inspired many charities to find ways to use it as a means to draw together physically and financially those who have similar tastes and interests online.
On Tuesday, 22 June, The Chronicle of Philanthropy is hosting an online discussion of how to leverage the Foursquare social network to raise funds for charities. The discussion begins at noon Eastern Time (a perfect time to check reviews of local restaurants, then get set up to watch while you enjoy one!). The participants are Joe Waters, who authors the blog SelfishGiving and is director of cause and event marketing at Boston Medical Center, and Estrella Rosenberg, who founded , which works to provide life-saving surgery to children with congenital heart defects in developing countries. Both have used Foursquare to great effect to raise money for their organizations.
Registration for both Foursquare and for the online discussion at the Chronicle is free. The advice and fundraising potential could be priceless.