Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fundraising and Community Organizing through Social Media

On Tuesday I had the opportunity to attend a panel discussion on Fundraising and Community Organizing through Social Media.

The panelists included Laura Kozien of ACCION USA (@accion_usa), Danielle Silber of the International Rescue Committee (@theIRC), and Angela Jackson with the Global Language Project (@GlobalLang). The panel was moderated by Ben Jervey, "The New Ideal" columnist at GOOD Magazine (@GOOD).

Each of the panelists had taken part in an online fundraising contest. For example, Sam's Club Giving Made Simple grant challenge, American Express Members Project, and the Pepsi Refresh Project.

The panel discussed ways in which to evaluate whether an organization should enter a contest, ways to get your donors and networks on board to support the contest, and ideas on how to follow up with supporters once the contest has finished.

When it comes to engaging social media for support, one of the main questions that comes up is how much contact is too much contact. Determining how often you should reach out to your social media contacts is always difficult. Too often may seem nagging and needy. Not enough looks like you're not engaged. While this varies from organization to organization, there are number of tools available for social media which will allow you to program how often you contact your online connections. However, one of the main fears that I've come across is that too much automation removes the personal aspect of social media.

One of the participants recommended the book Share This!: How You Will Change the World with Social Networking by Deanna Zandt. The book discusses how Social Networks can be powerful tools for mobilizing communities to rally behind causes. 

 Share This!: How You Will Change the World with Social Networking

In addition to the panelists and moderator, the event was put together by a number of people and companies including TBWA/Chiat/Day, Edelman, and the Pepsi Refresh Project. 

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