Are you Ready for the Next Facebook?

Meg McKinley 09.08.09

I had the privilege last week of becoming an aunt for the very first time. My brother and sister-in-law welcomed their daughter into this world at 10:19am EDT on Tuesday morning. Now, while I may think this little girl is the best thing to inhabit the planet, I recognize that children are born every day all over the world, but what really caught my attention is how the events unfolded afterwards.

 

At 1:10pm EDT that same day, I received three pictures of my new niece via email from my brother. I, of course, promptly loaded the pictures to Facebook to announce to all of my friends (and his friends and my mom’s friends… you get my point) that she had arrived. 

 

While this accomplishment is nothing extraordinary today, it was unimaginable a mere six years ago – before the days of Facebook. Back then, you actually might have to email pictures or even worse, mail them!

 

You may ask how this applies to technology for nonprofits. If you haven’t noticed lately, whether through your own organization or through solicitations you’ve received from others, nonprofits are furiously trying to establish their presence on Facebook. And they should! What a fantastic, not to mention free, way to get your organization visible to 250 million folks. If your organization can tap into even 1% of Facebook users, you’ve potentially upped your constituent database by 2.5 million “opportunities for giving”. But that means you need to think carefully about your organization’s objectives for Facebook, what message you put out there and who you are really targeting through Facebook.

 

And while you ponder how you want to use Facebook to your organization’s best advantage, I challenge you to also begin the process of thinking about how you will engage the next generation of donors, my niece’s generation. Think about it…. not so long ago (I can count the years on one hand), Facebook was only popular with twenty-somethings.  That has changed rapidly in the last five years, with Facebook’s fastest growing population now those over thirty-five, with two-thirds of its entire population outside of college age (according to statistics on www.facebook.com). 

 

Most nonprofits are jumping on the Facebook bandwagon now and it is absolutely right that they should. But at the same time, it is equally important to note that many people are jumping off that same bandwagon and looking for a new one. Check out some interesting Facebook trends published in August 26th’s New York Times

 

Will your organization be ready to ride the next bandwagon too?

 

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