Sunday, February 12, 2012

BIG’s Blog: Rallying 300,000 Friends

By now we are all aware of the dust-up between Susan G. Komen for the Cure, formerly known as The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America over Komen’s cut-off to Planned Parenthood of support for breast cancer exams for women who can’t afford them.

Which side you come down on is not the point of this blog.

My point is to showcase . . . yet again . . . the growing power of social media services such as Twitter and Facebook to galvanize people’s passion and to move people to action, so that you think seriously of how transformative not only Twitter and Facebook are, but the whole real-time, always-on Internet.  

The battle between these two well-known organizations didn’t play out in the media. Oh sure, the media reported it, but even the online media were constantly playing catch-up.
The battle played out on a person-by-person basis as each person weighed in and forwarded their thoughts and others to their friends who did the same. This happened in real-time. The cacophony got the attention of the media and in this case, the Komen organization.

And then there was the 22-year-old nanny who was working two jobs . . . one for a nonprofit . . . who started a petition on asking Bank of America to rescind their newly announced $5/month fee on her debit account. Over 300,000 people quickly signed her petition and the Internet lit up. What happened? Bank of America backed down and dropped the fee.

I worked in the commercial world all my adult life up to six years ago. From a commercial perspective, I see some value in using social media. But social media is made for focusing on things we are passionate about. And passion is what nonprofit charities generate.

With McDonald’s, it’s about the burger. But with your charity it’s about the work . . . the mission. Only 8-year-old boys who have been deprived too long get passionate about a Big Mac, but the rest of us can get really passionate about the causes we care about.

Can you just “bolt on” social media to the fundraising methodology your fundraising organization has been using for years? Not a chance!

If that’s your plan, you need to face the fact that you still don’t “get it.”

Find somebody who can help you.


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