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onLine examines all things related to philanthropy and "being online": online marketing, online fundraising, Web 2.0 technologies, new tools, new issues, and new strategies to help nonprofits find their audience, philanthropists find their causes, and technologists and marketers understand the Web.

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« Is Your Org Really About "Social Change"? | Main | Nonprofits say YES to social media… and mostly to Facebook »

Comments

A significant point that your article does not address is the time and resources required by non-profits to set up and maintain social media networks. Most non-profits have limited people power and they need to calculate whether the ROI spent on social media is worth it. In nearly every case, the ROI spent by staff on identifying, cultivating and soliciting individual people of wealth will be much higher.

Suzanne,
I definitely agree that measuring staff time and resources needs to be factored in but also hope that it's all part of setting reasonable expectations. And if you're measuring staff resources against just the donations that may or may not come in, I think you'll most often get a completely undervalued ROI. But if you factor in increases in awareness, however you want to look at # of new fans or friends or followers and then exposure to their networks, it's starting to look more realistic for what you're really getting. Overall though, I think the better opportunity for ROI is not to just spend a lot of time building a Cause/Fan/Group page, send messages out to those who connect and watch no money come in but to build the opportunity for community to grow and leverage existing networks to help build out the communities and make the asks for you. I think the ROIs related to enabling those friend asking friend asks will be much more reasonable when the staff resources are focused on that use of social networks.

Through Facebook Causes - The Brigham and Women's Hospital received around $100,000 so far for their Cancer Prevention efforts - and another Cause dedicated to SIDS research only earned about $800 since I wrote an article on them in April -- but here's the kicker, their Cause's membership rose by about 25,000 people since April...that's more than 8,000 people per month. This statistic speaks for itself as to the potential for success on Causes - but it also solidifies the importance of a well-nurtured online community in general.

Here's my original article: http://www.gummyprint.com/posts/internet/fundraising-with-social-media-facebook-causes-and-others/

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