It sounds like yet another buzzword fueled by marketing hype, but Philanthropy 2.0 is becoming a legitimate opportunity for organizations who want to take their social responsibility efforts to the next level.
From corporate giving programs to independent donors across the globe, social media platforms are helping organizations build effective fundraising programs and enjoy immediate results from their grassroots campaigns. Organizations can now track down volunteers, develop nationwide giving programs, and help others pursue their dreams – all with the power of Web 2.0 by their side.
How Philanthropy 2.0 Works
Fueled by the success of sites such as Kiva.org, an online financing marketplace that connects donors with aspiring entrepreneurs, thousands of community leaders, activists and nonprofit organizations are now tapping into the power of social media to launch their own successful projects
As Kiva.org points out, “MySpace has changed the way the entertainers relate to their fans, Craigslist has changed the way people find a job or a room-for-rent, Kiva has changed the way people give back.”
Kiva is online lending ‘marketplace’ for people to donate funds to budding entrepreneurs, and keep track of the business owner’s projects and progress over time. The Web 2.0 element for Kiva lies in how the recipients and donors interact on the Kiva.org platform. Kiva makes it easy for recipients of awards and loans to connect with other business owners, create an attractive profile, and network with others. This not only helps them promote and share their business, but also provides encouragement and inspiration to others looking for ways to build their dreams.
The Ripple Effect of Philanthropy 2.0
The May 6, 2008 Q&A session of the Stanford Social Innovation Review showcased a series of up-and-coming social platforms that are steadily increasing their donors lists and raising millions of dollars in funds. Sites such as DonorsChoose.org ($1.2 million since 2000), Kiva.org ($28 million since 2004) and Facebook Causes ($2.5 million since 2007) are only a few online platforms that have successfully captured the essence of social networking and launched fundraising platforms that work (Source: Stanford Social Innovation Review).
By harnessing the power of social media tools, corporations, smaller organizations and ambitious individuals can quickly build the tools and platforms needed to make donating and sharing resources easier than ever before. Social media can help boost marketing efforts, attract donors and volunteers, and establish a brand presence across the web.
Online communities built around a particular cause can help garner interest in a particular project or initiative so that recruiting volunteers and collaborating on projects is no longer the obstacle to launching a new project. The days of searching for volunteer opportunities on boards such as United Way, local community sites and even Craigslist are giving way to social networking platforms that make it simple to reach out to community members and active volunteers.
How to Jump Into Philanthropy 2.0
There are now hundreds of fundraising and philanthropic networking sites across the web, each one dedicated to a specific cause or promoting a business with a large portion of profits going to select charities. Whether you’re interested in volunteering online, donating money or joining the social entrepreneurship revolution, here are a few sites to get started on your Philanthropy 2.0 venture:
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: Turn to Bill Gates for inspiration and resources in several types of volunteer projects, and set up a profile on volunteer matching sites including VolunteerMatch, Network for Good and Idealist.org. Each of these sites offers thousands of opportunities in your local community and abroad, and is a simple way to begin your networking efforts with like-minded individuals.
Facebook Causes – a Facebook application that allows you to start a fundraising program through your own Facebook profile, set up a network and promote your ideas to all interested parties through your social network
Kiva.org– set up a profile here and donate money to aspiring entrepreneurs across the world. Kiva.org also recruits Field Partners – microfinance companies already serving borrowers and interested in using the online fundraising platform on Kiva to help others. In addition to donating money as an individual, Kiva also recruits volunteers for several projects through its opportunities board.
Ning – a customizable social networking site that is free to set up and use. Ning can be used as a platform to recruit volunteers, promote an idea or support a cause. Change.org has already harnessed the power of Ning to develop hundreds of online giving programs and fundraising campaigns.
Whether you’re a corporate executive, small business owner or just looking for a new organization to volunteer with or donate to, it’s easier than ever to tap into social media networks and make a difference. Set up your own profile on any of these sites to make your mark in the Philanthropy 2.0 revolution.