Facebook has gotten most of the press lately, and the MKCREATIVE blog discussed some of that buzz earlier this week. Facebook’s staff seek to build and weave together the new ‘Social Graphs’ of one’s “Friends” with the use of the already nearly-ubiquitous “Like” button. But another site is under development by Chris Hugues (one of the founding developers of Facebook) that seems to have similar ambitions within the world of mission-based businesses and philanthropy groups. That site is , a name meant to convey ‘working together.’ Though not the first site to try to bring together these constituencies, the knowhow of Mr. Hugues and his colleagues in the area of social networking might give Jumo a big jump once it is presented some time this fall. One can register an email online to get updates (and, of course, to register one’s ‘Like’ of the site) as they progress.
How has social networking fared as a qualitative and quantitative part of the philanthropic and mission-based communities?
Peter Panepento has just posted a report on ‘The Chronicle of Philanthropy‘ that shows the gentle but steady growth of the use of amongst philanthropic groups, but the modest benefactions that are raised through social media. Here is the bottom line as tallied by Mr. Panepento:
• Thirty-six groups raised $408,000 on Facebook, with a median total of $1,000 per organization.
• Sixteen groups raised $36,000 on Twitter, with a median amount raised of $500.
• Six groups raised $245,000 through blogs, with a median amount raised of $11,500.
• Two groups raised $500 on .
The entire tally/spreadsheet can be reviewed, though you must set up a (free) account with Philanthropy.com to view it.
One of the striking particulars we see on the table is how some groups made stunning advancements: Childrens’ Hospital of Los Angeles (up 496%), The Cooperative Housing Foundation International (Silver Spring, Md.) (up 225%), Seattle (WA) Foundation (up, without a mis-type, 4664%). Most, not surprisingly, made modest gains in the 30-70% range, though the state of the economy in 2009 should remind us that even that growth is testament to the relationships and efforts of those organizations. Others lost some ground in online giving, but no one dropped more than 40%.
Social networking is about, well, networking. And fund raising is certainly an important outcome of that networking for philanthropic groups. But social networking was not designed to raise money per se. Moreover, many might get news via the social network they have with their favored charity, but send in a good old-fashioned check at the end of the day. That money goes into the same pot, even if not aggregated in the excellent study presented by the Chronicle.
Nevertheless, the networks these applications help build help keep (potential) donors and clients in-the-know about the group’s work and needs. Such associations require time to build and time to bear financial fruit. So we believe any sign of growth in 2009 (even if not 4664%) is good and a sign of potential: potential in how social media keep people connected with their favorite charities – potential in how people can keep up with developments through social media – and potential in how social media can be the gateway to giving as people become ever more familiar with the technology.
Tomorrow we shall explore some of the ways groups are getting help with their online efforts.