Lately I have been reading about innovations in fundraising, and something that really interests me is the idea of using new forms of technology, like cell phones and Facebook, to bring in donations. I found an interesting article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, “Can Texting a Donation Hurt Long-Term Giving?”, that explores the longer-term implications of donating with a click. I think the article makes an excellent point in that while this kind of “one off” donation might not lock in devoted, long-term donors in the immediate sense, it might be a good first step in building a philanthropic foundation for the next generation of loyal givers.
Still, if this is true, it doesn’t do much good for nonprofits looking to bring in money in the immediate future. I am far from an expert on the topic of fundraising through new media, and would be interested to hear input from those who have used it in their organizations. In particular, I wonder how reliance on mediums like Facebook affects consistency in levels of support? I imagine it would be challenging for a fundraising professional to do the outreach within these mediums necessary to cultivate significant donors, particularly if the organization receives a large volume of small donations.
I have little doubt that the field of fundraising is moving away from reliance on tools like direct mail campaigns (though I hope a handwritten thank you note never goes out of style). As a (hopeful) future nonprofit professional I will be waiting eagerly for longer-term implications of these new developments in the fundraising field.