Social Networking for Charity
Today's Wall Street Journal has an article (subscription required) about how social networking is changing how young people identify with and support charities. An exceprt:
Young donors and volunteers, snubbing traditional appeals such as direct mail and phone calls, are satisfying their philanthropic urges on the Internet. They're increasingly turning to blogs and social-networking Web sites, such as MySpace and Facebook, to spread the word about -- and raise funds for -- their favorite nonprofits and causes. They're sending Web-based fund-raising pitches to their friends and families, encouraging them, in turn, to forward the appeals to their own contacts.
At the same time, a growing number of charities -- ranging from start-ups to established names such as the Salvation Army -- are launching profiles on popular social-networking sites, hoping that young people will link up to the pages. Some are also encouraging bloggers to mention the causes on their sites, raising thousands of dollars in small donations from readers.
Many of the nonprofits that have embraced social networking are themselves run by people in their 20s and 30s, who already spend a good portion of their lives online. Some of them also appeal to donors by offering them tangible results of their gifts by directly linking contributors with recipients.
Social-networking sites, for their part, are offering new tools to help attract nonprofits and contributors. In May, a social-action start-up called Project Agape launched a new program on Facebook called "Causes," in which users can create online communities to advocate for various issues, charities and political candidates. Since then, the program has attracted more than 2.5 million Facebook users, raising some $300,000 for nonprofits and politicians, says Joe Green, 24, the project's co-founder.
This trend is exactly what Good2gether is going to take advantage of. While still in stealth mode, Good2gether is building some great momentum with non-profits, large online media properties, and big consumer brands. They hope to pull all that together with a social network to connect people to causes. Stay tuned for more. For a steady stream of teaser information, check out the Good2gether blog.