Social Networks Meant for Social Good, but at a Price

Monday, December 20, 2010

Over the last year or so, there has been an explosion of online intermediaries promising to help nonprofit groups raise money and awareness.

Crowdrise, Jumo, Causecast, Causes on Facebook and others try to use social networking and crowdsourcing to build interest in charities and causes, and to help them attract donations.

“2010 has really been the year of the social network for social good,” said Katya Andresen, chief operating officer at Network for Good, a nonprofit that handles processing and other administrative chores for many of the new sites.

In a recent study of online giving, Network for Good found that the experience when donating online is important to people. “I think many of these new sites are trying to make online giving, which is rather transactional in nature, an experience of greater intimacy, and that’s valuable,” Ms. Andresen said.

But to many in the nonprofit world, the value of the sites remains to be seen. For one thing, they hand partial control over charity brand names and trademarks to users who are often unknown to the nonprofit groups they support. And virtually all of them ask users to pay to donate.

Source: The New York Times (link opens in a new window)