Danger in “Blogging for the Hearts of Donors”?
Three-quarters of charities participating in the research report that theyre employing social media in their marketing portfolios, and nearly half say that those endeavors are “very important” to fundraising efforts.
Despite being titled, Blogging for the Hearts of Donors, the report says video tops the list of social media offered on charity websites:
- Online video—41 percent
- Blogging—34 percent
- Social networking—34 percent
- Podcasting—33 percent
- Message boards—26 percent
- Wikis—13 percent
- None—25 percent
It’s significant to note that the 76 participating charities all appear on Forbes Magazines 200 Largest Charities list, which excludes academic institutions. If higher-ed fundraisers were added to the report’s data, I’d wager that the adoption rates mostly would go down. Other than video and with a few exceptions, we’re just not there yet.
I reviewed this report a day after receiving Jacob Nielsens Alertbox, Web 2.0 Can Be Dangerous. It’s a good read and a reminder not to get distracted by “flavor-of-the-day” interactive offerings and allow your focus to drift away from proven online communication techniques.
Nielsen states that’s what important here is opportunity cost.
In other words, what content didnt you post because you invested an inordinate amount of time to develop a Flickr site to complement your online press room? Or did the great Flickr tools enable you to post a larger number of photos/captions than your old, more time-consuming methods? It makes perfect sense to build your college’s presence on Flickr if that technology helped you work smarter while also engaging online visitors in a new way.
Higher-ed web shops are understaffed. That’s why, if you did a survey of the top 200 or even 20 college and university online giving sites, you wouldn’t the preponderance of blogs, videos, or podcasts mentioned above—communication tools our non-profit brethren cite as being integral in their efforts to “increase awareness of their missions and to help connect with their constituencies.”
Absolutely, we’ve got to dip our toes-
and sometimes splash-into the 2.0 waters, just like our non-profit colleagues. But as Nielsen reminds us, it cant happen at the expense of core content and business processes: “Before throwing spending money at ‘2.0’ features, make sure that you have all the ‘1.0’ requirements working to perfection.”
Note: A related study by the same researchers, titled “The Game Has Changed: College Admissions Outpace Corporations in Embracing Social Media,” shows that college admissions sites also lead corporate America in the adoption of social media.