Lately, I might have given mixed signals about my views on the fundraising utility of social networks like MySpace and Facebook … on the one hand, touting the incredible traffic these sites generate, but, on the other hand, suggesting that fundraisers had better not bet the farm on these vehicles.

I don’t actually think I’ve been inconsistent …

1. The traffic on this sites is awesome — therefore, you better start understanding the culture of the medium and the user preferences and techniques that predominate there. You need to be on a steep learning curve. But if it were it my budget and staff resources at issue, in 2009 I’d have my staff learning from the mistakes of others!

2. The money being raised is puny — if there aren’t more immediate things you could be doing to actually raise money now, your fundraising program is in really bad shape!

DonorPowerBlog concurs here. And below are some remarks on The Agitator’s previous posts from Eric Rardin at Care2, together with a link I urge you to visit for more discussion.

Tom,

I’ve enjoyed your skeptical look at online fundraising and social networks in particular. I thought this analysis might intrigue you. The following is a blog post last summer by Aaron Hurst of Taproot Foundation

http://www.taprootfoundation.org/blog/2008/07/is-causescom-really-costcom.html

We’ve heard similar comments from lots of the charities we work with lately. Namely they’ve put in a lot of time and not seen much return. That doesn’t mean things won’t evolve, but I think a serious analysis of the cost to charities from building their causes and trying to raise money is in order. We’ve take a couple of looks at this, posted on our blog frogloop.com, including building a social network calculator to analyze ROI.

I’d love to read what you think of this all.

Best,
Eric

Check out the comment by the savvy Beth Kanter on the Taproot link.

Do you have Facebook or MySpace experiences you’d like to share?

Tom

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