The must-read article this week was in the Wall Street Journal. "A New Generation Reinvents Philanthropy" talked about how the use of social networking is introducing people under 35 to non-profits, both through innovative giving tools like Kiva.org, as well as innovative tools like Facebook being utilized by very traditional brands.
"Joe Alamo didn’t set out to become a do-gooder. But
late last year, when the Geneva, N.Y., Web designer was surfing on
MySpace, he chanced onto the profile of Kiva.org,
a nonprofit that allows people to make zero-interest "microfinance"
loans over the Internet to needy entrepreneurs in developing countries.
Soon after, Mr. Alamo not only became a lender through Kiva, but he also started a new Web site, Kivafriends.org,
devoted to Kiva enthusiasts. He also now volunteers to run Kiva’s
MySpace page. "This is the first time I’ve ever gotten so involved with
a charity," says Mr. Alamo, now 30 years old."
We’re not in a land rush, you shouldn’t be rushing to social networks because all the supporters will be gone soon if you don’t, but you most certainly should have a strategy in place. Even if that strategy is "I’m going to start with the following pilots this year", you should be well on your way to have some evaluatable experiments by the end of calendar 2007.