Beyond Facebook and Twitter


Photos by Chris Suspect

NonProfit 2.0 crystalized as a great event last Friday with incredible conversations, even amongst competitors. But perhaps what made it most special was the utter lack of Facebook and Twitter sessions. No one, from keynotes to 23 attendee generated “unsessions,” wanted to talk about how-to Facebook or Tweet. That was the first social media conference in memory that did not include at least one conversation centered around Facebook or Twitter.

For some, there will always be a need for the basics, particularly about Facebook, which seems to change its interface and features every month. But it seems that the need for this type of information was not needed, at least in the DC Nonprofit 2.0 community. Not last week.

This was refreshing. It marked a line in the sands of time. Maybe it was an anomaly. Or maybe it is finally time to start talking about the pragmatic use of these tools rather than the basics. As a blogger who has covered social media use for more than five years this feels really good, providing a sense of the sector’s arrival.

Beyond this simple epiphany, Epic Change’s Stacey Monk delivered a stirring keynote on re-instilling love and compassion into cause work. Crowdrise’s Robert Wolfe opened the kimono discussing Edward Norton Jr’s involvement, and how MooseJaw led him to create a fun social fundraising site. Social fundraisers Razoo (client), Crowdrise, CauseVox and Causes demonstrated a congenial affinity for each other that you rarely see amongst competitors. It was really cool.

But in the end, the big takeaway from Nonprofit 2.0 was the quiet yet obvious absence of Facebook and Twitter as topics. What do you think? Are communicators moving beyond the need for simple information about these social networks?

Why Launch the Inspiring Generosity Blog

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Image by Beverly & Pack

Today on Razoo’s site, Zoetica helped launch the Inspiring Generosity blog. As the managing editor of the blog, it is an honor to be involved with this ambitious effort. Further, it is a privilege to work with great bloggers like Alex Bornkessel, John Haydon and Estrella Rosenberg, and videographer Chris Suspect.

Inspiring Generosity seeks to catalyze a critical industry breakthrough for nonprofits in online fundraising. Currently, the industry is stymied with past attempts for social fundraising not achieving significant scalable success. The exceptions garner excitement, but are not creating widespread industry best practices.

In large part, we believe that social fundraising has yet to break through because the technology has not been intuitive, and approaches towards donors have largely been transactional and not relational. If you think about the latter reason, this is a larger issue facing all companies and nonprofits: Trying to force traditional marketing approaches into social as opposed to using these tools for relationships.

Inspiring Generosity seeks to address this transaction/relationship context, disseminate best practices, and highlight great case studies. Razoo has empowered the blog team to report on larger social fundraising issues, including what other industry leaders Causes, Crowdrise, FirstGiving, Fundly, Network for Good and more are doing right. For example, tomorrow’s post will be analysis of Blackbaud’s infographic on fundraising.

To do more than simply market on a blog — even going so far as to give your competition hat tips –takes some guts. Razoo, under the guidance of new CEO Brian Fujito, is returning to its core values of inspiring generosity. Together as a sector, done right social fundraising is an act that can strengthen the entire social good ecosystem and society as a whole.

Please join us on our weekly journey.

Marketing Causes Harder Than Products

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Homeless Image by Raileen Viorel

Marketers love telling nonprofits how to market their social solutions. They get miffed when they see a perceived slow road to change, an underfunded website written by someone in their 20s, and a general failure to resolve society’s ills. Of course, the answer must be the crappy marketing. Having worked with both types of organizations closely, it’s easy to definitively say social change marketing is much harder than marketing a product or service.

Quora Response

Look, whatever your experience is — Procter & Gamble, Old Spice, Cisco, start-up sold — great! Yes, selling domain names and marketing organic strawberries is hard. But the difference between marketing and activism will always revolve around this truth — People want stuff, but they don’t want to change. Getting people to want to change themselves is much, much harder.

Think about it. Do you want to change? Do you want to buy a more expensive electric car (kudos to Ford for announcing the world’s third major electric car at CES)? Yeah, most Americans get sustainability — it’s one of the most over-marketed words out there. But when push comes to shove, people don’t want to change, otherwise green legislation (forget electric cars) would be a top priority in the United States.

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How about cigarette smoking? In spite of every marketing trick in the book including severely negative product packaging deployed by the best minds in the business via the Ad Council, in spite of every piece of cancer causing knowledge out there, 20.6% of U.S. adults still smoke.

Beyond that core communications difference, causes are not businesses. They do different things than shilling burgers or IT services. Causes and people fight to affect social change. They have to make every donor dollar count. They don’t have the resources, staff or the wherewithal that a business does.

Quora Responses

There are too many causes because every entrepreneur who made a little scratch goes off and starts yet another Foundation or cause to do it “their way.” And for every fat well-known cause out there like Komen, there are dozens fighting an avalanche of apathy, scrapping to make ends meet.

Yet business people think they suck because they don’t market right. Maybe the marketers are that good, but there’s only one way to find out… By doing some actual field work. Please report back the research!

What do you think? Is it easier to communicate for causes or for-profit endeavors?

Thanks to Florian Engel, Jennifer Rosenberg, Stacey Monk, Kevin Vine, and Joe Waters for their answers on Quora.

Ammado Revs Up to Compete with Causes

clip_image001 Last time the Buzz Bin blogged about Ammado, they had just launched the Giving Circle. Now the network that is seeking to compete with Facebook Causes, has launched a new widget. The widget will allow charities to receive donations indirectly through third party sites without donors having to visit the Ammado network. This in turn allows any blogger to support any charity directly on their network. Peer-to-peer fundraising activity becomes much more accessible and manageable.

In addition to the widget, Ammado has some functional advantages over Causes. Specifically, the network enables global giving with more than 31 foreign currencies (including China). Almost anyone in the world can make a donation to disparate countries and their charities. This gives the platform a potential competitive advantage over Facebook Causes, which only caters to U.S. and Canadian charities.

At the same time, Ammado does not have the breadth of domestic charities that Facebook does. Individuals and companies may see this as a distinct disadvantage. But, any 501c3 can sign up for Ammado.

Ammado targets international corporations interested in employee giving programs. In this sense it’s competing with less flexible corporate charity programs like the United Way. Virgin Games, Time Warner, and Oracle are users of the Ammado network.

The Giving Circle allows employee bases with diverse footprints across multiple nations to give to charities of their choice. Employees can engage in microfinancing. Companies can also use the platform to engage in cause related marketing to engage for loyalty purposes.

The network uses advertising to monetize its activities and fund its more than 70 staffers across the globe. The network allows people to sign in via open ID. Functionality allows multiplatform integration across Facebook, Twitter and other sites.

All in all, the product is getting much better. The question remains, can they build up enough U.S. traction to effectively compete with Causes? The market will decide.