Inside Philanthropy

A blog on philanthropy and nonprofit news and issues. A publication of Philanthropy Journal.

July 24, 2007

Social media: Do nonprofits get it?

[PJ wants to know what you think. Below is a summary of our special report on technology. After reading the summary and the report itself, please submit your comments.]

New media give nonprofits powerful tools to work smarter.

In a special report published today, PJ looks at how nonprofits are using new media to run their shops, raise money and promote their causes.

But nonprofits that simply plug new media into old ways of doing business may be bound for the scrap heap.

To survive and thrive, nonprofits must adapt to the engaged new-media world in which individuals with easy access to computers, mobile devices and wireless connectivity are transforming the way charitable dollars are raised and social causes are promoted.

The challenge for nonprofits is to wed tried-and-true principles of operating, fundraising and service-delivery with the emerging new-media culture that engages the collective power of individual voices, values and assets for the common good.

Media philosopher Marshall McLuhan believed “the medium is message.”

Do you believe nonprofits will get the message and truly tap new media to engage a diverse audience in sharing and contributing to the job of fixing our most critical social problems?

Check out PJ’s special report, and let us what you think.


  • At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think nonprofits will adapt faster than we think. Boards of nonprofits may, however, obsess over unintended consequences which may slow progress.

  • At 7:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree with Dow that nonprofits will take to the technology faster than many think. Whether that means they "get it" is another question. As has happened with various other technologies, the talk turns to fundraising very quickly, and that may be a mistake with social media. Way back in the old days, the authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto proclaimed to corporations that "Markets are conversations." I think an adaptation of the Cluetrain Manifesto may be needed for the nonprofit world.


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