In a few short years, social media has changed business, news reporting, publishing, music, marketing, and education. And while we’ve seen social media play a significant role in support of not-for-profits – introducing us to techniques ranging from the avatar to crowdfunding — we’re about to see even greater developments in how organizations raise money, enlist the participation of their communities, and involve corporations in the process. Here’s what’s coming.
1. All donating will be social
We’ll no longer simply write a check and mail it into the cause of our choosing, Instead, we’ll go to a social networking charity site, choose from a list of vetted organizations, open an account, and allocate funds to the charities we find most compelling. In the process, we’ll meet, friend and connect with others who have our same interests. We’ll follow and interact with the organizations that we support. And we’ll promote our donations via Twitter and Facebook. A new kind of check-in if you will.
2. Companies will use donations as an innovative marketing technique
This is the coolest marketing idea I heard all week. Imagine that “Big Bank” wants to attract young customers — college-age kids. When a Gen Yer opens an account with BB, the bank sends him a $5.00 credit every month that he can donate to any charity he wants. He goes to a website, picks a worthy organization that suits him, and makes his donation. In the process he learns about causes, develops empathy and, of course, becomes a loyal customer of the bank that’s doing such an amazingly good deed. And all the bank did was shift some of its already designated charitable contributions from corporate decision making to its customers.
3. We’ll all have donor profiles
It’s human nature to want to promote our accomplishments, compare one’s self to others, and be noted for our good deeds. So, given the chance we’ll be easily inclined to put our charitable profiles front and center. Not necessarily how much we gave, but in what percentages and to what kinds of causes. If we support orphanages in third world countries, or victims of natural disasters, or endangered species we’ll want people to know. Especially if everyone else has a personal charity profile.
4. Individuals will become fundraisers
Feel strongly about an issue? You’ll have easy-to-use tools to establish your own fundraiser. You’ll create a fundraising page, promote the cause, solicit secure donations, track your progress and — with nothing more than an online presence, some emails and a few posts on Twitter — you’ll gather a community of like-minded donors and pool their collective willingness to give.
5. We’ll all be more aware of those in need
It’s one thing to be on the receiving end of an appeal from United Way or World Wildlife Fund. But if there were a social site that gathered all of the world’s worthy organizations, providing a sense of just how many people needed support and made it easy for you to explore, discover and choose the ones that mattered to you, you may end up acutely aware of organizations you never heard of before and all the good they’re doing across the globe.
This is what’s coming. In fact, it’s possibly already here. Check this site out. It’s called Ammado. It’s not a client, and I have no vested interest in their success. But I did recently meet Peter Conlon, Ammado’s founder. He tracked me down after I had the chance to speak at Beyond Cause Marketing, and took me through his vision for connecting nonprofits, socially responsible companies and engaged individuals.
It looks promising. What do you think?