It had that great college party vibe: live band, warehouse, free food, and drink. Most of the people there had never met. Everyone was excited to be there and giddy in figuring out who is who. It was a Tweetup (or Twestival) organized by the Social Media Club of Lexington at Buster’s Billiards & Backroom for a cause, Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky. What struck me while mingling with the fifty or so people is the power of social media.
There were groups of people who normally would never interact on a social level, but Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn brought them together for a cause. The demographics were diverse by age and profession, from IT pros to musicians to graphic artists. It was a win-win situation for everyone involved. The nonprofit interacted directly with new donors raising $500. The attendees were made aware of an important issue facing the community: child abuse.
In a recent Community Philanthropy 2.0 survey, it was found that those 30 and younger were not a high dollar donor generation: Only 4 percent donated $5,000 or greater in 2008, and only 11 percent donated more than $1,000. You know what? That’s OK because what is happening is donor cultivation. A Tweetup is one way to open the door to younger donors or for that matter any potential donor. It maybe their first experience with philanthropy. It is a soft sell approach… a very relaxed social event. With follow-up (a potential good use for Twitter lists or a Facebook Fan or Cause page), a foundation can be built upon allowing for more and higher dollar gifts. It won’t happen over night unless the mission is so overwhelming that people are compelled to give. It will take time, but the investment is worth it.
People are looking to become involved, to really make a difference. Philanthropy is very personal. Social media allows nonprofits — via a Twitter posting or a link from a friend’s Facebook page — to target people who may not necessarily go to a nonprofit’s website and potentially have them become involved. Donor cultivation and social media are all about connections and relationships. To me that’s power.