Salsa Scoop> The Wired Fundraiser: Network for Good Surveys People-Powered Giving

The Wired Fundraiser: Network for Good Surveys People-Powered Giving

A couple of weeks ago, Network For Good hit the streets with The Wired Fundraiser (pdf), a report on the growing phenomenon of ordinary people raising money for causes and organizations they support ... without said organization's involvement, and sometimes without even its awareness. The key finding?
When Wired Fundraisers Talk, People Listen: Wired Fundraisers are regular people with a cause and a keyboard, and they are proving highly effective at fundraising for their favorite charity in an ever-widening personal sphere of influence online. That’s because today, the messenger matters even more than the message. People trust messengers they know, like friends and family. These messengers naturally communicate in the most effective ways – through personal means, in a conversational tone, and with great stories. A promotion from a charity can’t compete with that level of intimacy, authority or authenticity.
This is big stuff for NfG, whose available-to-all fundraising widgets we've pointed at before. (Note: Salsa offers organization-specific peer-to-peer fundraising tools, too.) But in a sense, online is unlocking power that's been there all along. Friends asking friends is what you're doing getting a $1/kilometer pledge to run a 5k.
[B]ecause it is so easy to be a Wired Fundraiser, it doesn’t require the level of passion that it does to be an offline fundraiser, canvassing the neighborhood tirelessly or hosting social events. That means that not everyone with an online badge or widget is actively promoting it. The fundraising effort depends on the person behind it – including their passion and the scope of their network.
What seems interesting about this report is that it really plays out the gulf between the handful of highly motivated users -- like the inimitable Beth Kanter -- and the looooooong tail of casual adopters whose widgets linger along with zero or one gifts. It's actually a bit analogous to the way online activism tools create a space for very low-barrier participation -- click here to take action -- that balloon out the participation numbers but contain vast reservoirs of participants with minimal investment in the project. And given that the network is increasingly going to be the point of contact between causes and people, both create an interesting strategic question for organizations that seems like a fruitful place for future investigation: how do you get those people involved? I don't mean only the how-tos to guide the energetic few, which this report covers admirably. I mean, building campaigns that attract a higher proportion of the energetic. Energizing a few out of that long tail. As tools saturate along with the organizations employing them, that's the sort of strategic consideration that will only grow in relevance.



You've hit the nail on the head ... it's social media, not mass media .. and influence and the momentum effect is important. I've been chewing on this for weeks ...for an article I'm writing ... more later Meanwhile, here's a resource that might be helpful

Great post

Thanks for your thoughtful post. We, too, are working on understanding how to find more superactivists and how to make the long tail of less active evangelists more engaged. We've found the best approach is to recognize that motivation is not something you can create - it's something there based on personal experience. You just need to be in as many places as possible with your tools, so that when someone is in a place where they're feeling strongly about a cause, the easy way to act is right before them -- at which point they may become a more involved activist.


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