I’ve already mentioned Beth Kanter’s extensive discussion of Twestival, an attempt to raise $500,000 for the group charity:water using Twitter. Beth titled her post Are Fundraising Groundswells A Massive Opportunity or Distraction for Nonprofit Organizations? and didn’t reach a conclusion either way.
Hildy Gottlieb takes the con side in her post Avoiding the Siren’s Song of Social Media Fundraising, arguing that these efforts are counterproductive:
These efforts tell donors, “You will have the satisfaction of knowing you helped.” And yet a year later, when nothing has changed for all the other millions of families, those donors become disillusioned.
While it is tempting to succumb to the “raise one-time money fast” approach that social media fundraising can indeed accomplish, DON’T DO IT.
I’m not convinced that this is an either/or situation. I would hate to see social media fundraising suck up resources that have been used for successful long-term education, advocacy, and fundraising efforts. But I think that smart nonprofits will add social media as one more tool for engagement and fundraising. It will take some staff time, but so does a web site or an email newsletter. It all adds up, but the use of social media doesn’t have to kill the broader efforts.
Both posts have attracted lots of good comments and are worthwhile reading.