To close out a week featuring online social networks, here’s a Washington Post report on the fundraising results from Causes, the personal donating application on Facebook and MySpace.

Launched a year ago, Causes has generated $2.5 million in donations to about 20,000 nonprofits. There are 60,000 users of the application daily on Facebook; 25,000 on MySpace … 12 million registered users overall. That’s about 21 cents a user. Is something wrong with my math?

Small Tiny potatoes at this point. Will it grow?

Once donors find a particular cause to support, will they begin to give more directly? I’m just not convinced that applications like Causes will serve as more than gateways or introductions for initial giving. I can’t imagine a recipient charity not trying to build a direct relationship with the donor. And if they reach out with any skill, the charity should be able to offer a relationship far more compelling than the original Causes connection.

There might be terrific applications and success stories on social network fundraising in the future, but I don’t think they will include Causes or the "mainstream" social nets. Rather, I think the successes will come from individual nonprofits figuring out how to use social networking tools to build and empower their own online communities.

Agree? Disagree?

Tom

Thanks to Philanthropy Today for the pointer.

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