Friday, September 12, 2008

A more meaningful prediction

I posted some short term prognostications early this morning. I then talked with someone who immediately confirmed my sense that my call about celebrity giving as this Giving Season's big buzz was correct. I also got a comment from Beth Kanter alerting me to her social media predictions, and I know Beth's work well enough to know its a good one.

Beth also asks why I think widget giving will drop. Good question. First, let me reiterate - the list is about buzz and what's hot or not. It is NOT about what works, what should be used, what I like/dislike, or what matters.

So when it comes to widgets - we've been there, done that. Everyone needs a widget now. In internet time, that's not hot, that's akin to...oh, I don't generation on Facebook? Text giving is new, and the media will write about the campaigns, we'll see a flurry of five digit numbers everywhere, maybe even the Salvation Army will replace its red buckets with a red number. And then we'll move on, to the next thing. Hot or not is a buzz thing, nothing more and maybe nothing less.

I see this as confirming Beth's prediction. In her words:

"We're still in the early stages of social media as in the early days of the web and online fundraising, so, we are in the "it's hype, and not going to last" phase. We're still in transition and the transition will take many years, but I believe fundraising with social media tools will not just be a niche source of income or novelty."
This phase means we bounce from email fundraising letters to Donate Now! buttons to widgets to texting

We don't really know what works, individual organizations may need all tools (or fewer), what works for some may not for others....but you knew all that already.

Since I'm on the subject, in a cranky mood, and I just walked across SF's rather small financial district - here's another prediction. Even if Congress writes in perks for hedge fund giving, next year's Robin Hood Fund's fundraising bash will raise less money than this year's; the guys (mostly) walking out of the investment banks today with those hang dog looks are real people losing real jobs; and in June 2009 (!) we will learn that giving in 08 was down, not flat and not up.

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