And here’s the proof: Marketplace: Giving goes online, too
I thought Janet Babin’s story was quite good, and she effectively got the point across that nonprofits need to do more to put their supporters in the driver’s set. She even pronounced my name right! I have just two small clarifications:
1. I am not a consultant, but in fact a full-time employee with benefits, etc. at the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and
2. In the second clip, I was not saying that “we” FOR don’t get this, but that “we” nonprofits in general don’t get the need to open up and trust our supporters.
Overall an excellent story, and I hope I get the chance to work with Janet again! Read on for a transcript, or click here for an MP3 of the segment.
According to the ePhilanthropy Foundation, total online giving in the U.S. last year hit about $6.8 billion. That’s an increase of more than 50 percent from 2005, but having a website and accepting online donations — that’s just the beginning. Consultant Ruby Sinreich works for the peace group, Fellowship of Reconciliation. She says to be effective online, charities need to be where their supporters hang out, whether that’s the online world Second Life, or social networking sites.
RUBY SINREICH: Increasingly, people are going on the Internet to talk about the issues that they care about, and the organizations that they care about, and they’re going to be doing that whether your organization is there with them or not.
Facebook has an application that lets members recruit and donate for causes, then tell their friends about it. JustGive.org is like a dating service that connects people with charities. At Change.org supporters have connected to more than 1,000 non-profits, but while network-centric philanthropy may be the future, it’s not quite the present. Just 3 percent of all U.S. donations are made online. Change.org founder Ben Rattray says non-profits have yet to embrace the Internet to make personal connections with supporters.
BEN RATTRAY: Websites replaced brochures, and e-mail replaced direct mail, but the means of communication has remained largely impersonal and one-way.
Being everywhere online has a price of its own — message control. Once you put the word out on Facebook it can take on a life of its own. Again, Ruby Sinreich, the consultant who’s working with the Fellowship of Reconciliation.
SINREICH: We have been very oriented toward closing off our networks, grabbing supporters and then keeping them, holding a tight reign on them. We do have to give up a little bit of control, and that’s hard for us.
But ultimately Sinreich says nonprofits have to trust the people who support them. A canned one-way message she says, is ineffective, compared to all those friends talking you up on Facebook.
– Marketplace: Giving goes online, too, 12/13/07