I read quite a few statistical reports from time to time, especially related to philanthropy and nonprofits. I'm even more intrigued when these discuss the relationship of technology or business to either of the above. Here are to examples from today:
- And from USC's Center for the Digital Future:
Participation in online communities leads to social activism. Almost two-thirds of online community members who participate in social causes through the Internet (64.9 percent) say they are involved in causes that were new to them when they began participating on the Internet. And more than 40 percent (43.7 percent) of online community members participate more in social activism since they started participating in online communities.
- The Cassandra Report suggested that 29% of folks bought a product that donated a portion of the proceeds to a charitable cause. While pure consumerism isn't an alternative to philanthropy, it can help make the world a better place.
What does it mean for your nonprofit? Here are two quick thoughts:
- You've got to be online. While this should be a no-brainer, your nonprofit must have an online presence of some sort not just in terms of a user-friendly Web site, but also in the worlds of online networking. But, don't spend a lot of time or money in this arena. Have a MySpace profile, but don't pay anyone to make it for you. Friend people you think may be interested in what you do, but don't use time that is better spent interacting in person with prospective donors or volunteers. People can and will find you through an online social network, so you need to be available, but you don't need to put all of your digital eggs in one electronic basket.
- The competition to be one of those charities that benefits from the purchases folks make at the mall is fierce and will only get fiercer. Red Campaigns are rare. But, you can align yourself with cause marketing initiatives in your community. Find a local restaurant or store and see if they'd be willing to donate a portion of sales on a particular day to your organization. You'll in turn promote what they're doing and help drive people to them. Even if it's only 5% of profits during happy hour, you'll have a little extra money and the beginnings of what could be a great relationship. Especially if people enjoy the experience and get online to tell others in their social network.