So long to the Facebook app change.org

It’s been a long time since I’ve published my list of Facebook apps. The new Facebook interface (rolled out over the last few months) seems to have thrown a number of apps into never never land — and some of the backends of the apps have changed in ways that aren’t compatible with Facebook and may need work to bring them back.

There are other apps that seem to have floundered¬† – in particular ones that use RSS or other integration with outside sites (del.icio.us), but I’d like to write here about change.org.

I just found out that the redesign of change.org means that the Facebook links are broken. The new site looks good, and it sounds as if they are working on the integration — but the Facebook integration (ability, say, to invite Facebook friends to join the change) was a key factor for me. I doubt that I’ll be an active member of a completely separate change.org social network.

It also appears that they’ve backed away completely from organizing things around “what do you want to change?” I understand that might have left an enormous amount of “cruft” in the database, so the motivation to set up certain broad “causes” with paid staff to manage them must have very strong. But I now can’t find how to find my smaller “pay equity” change in the broader “women’s rights” cause. Once I login to the change.org site I can find my list of Facebook friends and invite them — but to what? I went there trying to post a link to a paper I’d found on the specific topic of Pay Equity — and the only way I could dope out to do that was to make “read the paper” an action for the Women’s Rights cause.

Ah, well. Nice idea while it lasted. A second warning to be careful about fundraising-type applications in Facebook (the demise of Charifree earlier this year was the first).

Question on Named Gifts

Date: Sun, 20 Apr 2008 18:42:14 -0400
To: development@aauw.org

Dear AAUW Development:

“Named gifts” are an old idea, but the CA Online branch has given them a new twist — posting information about the branch honorees on their web site — http://www.aauwcaonline.org/ef/namedgifthonorees.asp

That may seem like an obvious way to “update” the old ways of publicizing those folks — but I hadn’t thought of it. With the structure of the AAUW NC web site, it will be easy to create a new category of “Named Gift Honorees” and encourage the branches to forward paragraphs about their honorees. But before I do that I’d like to check:

1) Are named gift certificates available through you still? Does a simple e-mail from a branch officer suffice to request them?
2) In the Glossary, http://aauw.org/member_center/branches_states/2006leaderconf/loader.cfm?url=/commonspot/security/getfile.cfm&PageID=4277, it says the amount for a named gift is $750, while in the 101 Ideas document, http://aauw.org/member_center/branches_states/loader.cfm?url=/commonspot/security/getfile.cfm&PageID=11571, it says $500. Is the $750 correct? [Do you really check?]
3) Is there a recommended process (e.g. request named gift certificates based on the total from the last fiscal year) or any changes in the works (extending this to a more general program rather than just EF) that you’d like to share before I roll this out in North Carolina?

Thanks.

-Nancy

Update on fundraising

Just a few quick notes about fundraising on Facebook.

The application with the most acceptance is “causes”. But the one that seems most interesting to me is “change”. The first, despite its name, starts with the selection of a nonprofit. The second starts with the end “Empower Youth,” “Achieve Pay Equity” and then allows the network of nonprofits that work on that change to “connect” to those who support the goal.

There are still bugs/holes in the system. The Facebook change application ties back to a completely separate “social networking for good” site at change.org, and there’s an extra step to connect a Facebook profile to a Change.org profile. The folks at Change.org haven’t yet figured out how to connect their “actions” (come to an event, do something on this day) to Facebook so that they show up there. For now the “discussion board” options may be the best way to get the word out about recommended actions. On the other hand, one action that I created as a “once in a lifetime” commitment with no specific time did come through to Facebook. Note that you cannot create the actions in Facebook – you must login to your profile on change.org to do that.

One other piece that’s not so obvious is that the Change application in Facebook allows you to “vote” for a nonprofit tied to a particular change. So, for AAUW members, it’s suggested that you look for the EF, LAF and LTI as the “nonprofits” assigned to a change and add your vote when you “join” the change.

Fundraising through online social networks

The number of social networks is approaching dizzying numbers. While many are supported by commercial advertising, nonprofits are also experimenting with fundraising through the connections the networks make possible. Web 2.0, after all, goes hand in hand with the viral marketing principles that have risen to prominence in the last few years. [Are you a maven? Where do you get your product/cause recommendations?]

For an interesting, cross-generational, discussion on the topic, see this post from the Non-Profit Tech Blog, www.nonprofittechblog.org, including this post from Heather:

There is a new generation that doesn’t even check their e-mail more than once a month and barely watches TV and doesn’t read newspapers. They are online. They are social networking. The hand-written note is great for the older generations who are used to that and appreciate it, that’s how they have been cultivated, but the younger generation (35-40 and under) is communicating and getting their information in radical new ways. They want you to post a comment on their MySpace or Facebook wall that says “Thanks for the donation!” so everyone else can see they donated (and hey they want to donate too because they want to see their picture on Change’s giving network). They don’t care about the handwritten note (and don’t you dare spam them with direct mail funding appeals… two a year tops)… they’d prefer you save the paper and resources. And this generation has cash and is passionate and just needs a little help learning about nonprofits… because the communications most nonprofits are using now don’t reach them. They are very happy to find a cool new nonprofit on MySpace.

The question, again, is where to devote limited resources — cultivating the current donors and reaching out in new ways for new ones.