08 August 2009

Technology enabled charitable giving

I am inspired by the variety of innovative ideas that leverage social media and technology channels for charitable giving. It also gives me pause for consideration to read and hear opinions indicating that perhaps the combination of social media and charitable giving is inconsistent with building a spirit of philanthropy.

This may be true. However, I am not convinced that every person who makes a financial donation to a nonprofit organization through more traditional methods is motivated by a spirit of philanthropy. Nor am I convinced that every donor has a desire to build a lasting relationship with every organization to which they donate.

Giving may be motivated by a sheer desire to help in a true time of need, or perhaps by a desire to share with others during the holiday season, or even for no particular reason at all, other than a convenient opportunity to give. In my opinion, nonprofits that leverage social media for the purpose of presenting a greater number of convenient opportunities to give are just plain smart. Technology enabled solicitations are simply another channel for giving, not much different from mature and stable direct mail solicitation programs.

Furthermore, nonprofit organizations that leverage social media to provide useful information about their programs and receive input in this same manner are offering an opportunity for basic communications exchange. This is an essential building block toward establishing a relationship. Of course, not all relationships beginning in this manner will mature and deepen.

In my opinion it seems short sighted to exclude opportunities to engage with potential donors through as many avenues as possible. As we so often meet our beloved life partners by mere chance, so it may be with nonprofit organizations and their loyal donors.

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