Reading back on what I just wrote, I’m wondering if I’m having a negative vibe or a very clear honest moment. Either way; here it goes:
The word Giving Season makes me feel awkward. While I see the motivation is positive, and I don’t mean to offend fund raisers, for me it feels like people are seen as something to harvest when words like Giving Season arise.I understand the logic and I’m perhaps sort of ‘out of the group’ on this one. I’m not from a nonprofit background, the reason I’m getting involved is because I’m rather cynical about charities, and I don’t want to be. I’d like there to be a way to help that works. Something that benefits the positive wellbeing of others, the world. etc. I’d rather search for ways to stimulate transparency for nonprofits than ways to get more money for nonprofits.As I feel it, the social engineering of communication to get the most money out of a ‘giving season’ is part of the problem that makes people cynical. Let’s try to see what people care about and facilitate these wishes to come true.
Perhaps I’m too sensitive about the words here.. Being more positive; In general I think that if you’re helping and you can communicate what you are doing, it doesn’t really matter what season you’re in, you can convince people to join your efforts.
Seasons aside, I do think nonprofits can make use of social networks for the benefit of their goals. It is a way to show who is personally responsible for the actions and who is personally helped by (those) actions. I guess we have a soft spot for personal stories and it can help to bring a broader story of (in)justice in the spotlight.
We all know a lot of sad things are going on, but it’s about what we can do about it. Cynicism about what happens to good intentions should be tackled with examples of good intentions having good consequences. A social network (site) can show this, it can show these examples on a personal level and be shared as such.
My reasoning would be that it doesn’t matter so much about who can get money out of the giving season, but more; how can we all make sure the giving actually gets stuff done. If we solve that problem, there would be little problem raising funds.
Social network sites can help to make transparent who gets stuff done, it can help (smaller) charities to work together on projects, it can help volunteers find projects they care about, it can help people with good or bad experiences to share those experiences to help guide others to spend their money in a more effective way, it can help by making it easier for people to make clear what is needed (perhaps money is not the answer, but political pressure of some sort, social networks can be used to mobilize such groups).
To summarize; the social web can be a very good thing for people who like positive change. And thereby a good thing for nonprofits who are there to facilitate people in realizing those changes.