From Wikipedia:“The medium is the message is a phrase coined by Marshall McLuhan meaning that the form of a medium embeds itself in the message, creating a relationship by which the characteristics of the medium influences how the message is perceived.”
So according to Mr. McLuhan, if you were reading (or hearing) these very words via newspaper, television, radio, a book, a lecture, email, postal mail, or even a different website, you would perceive and likely respond differently.
This relates to online social networking fundraising how?
FaceBook, Twitter and other Web 2.0 online communities are media. As such, they embed themselves into the messages exchanged by FB’ers and Tweeters. In fact, they actually shape and define the messages, including those from people asking for support for causes or nonprofits. FaceBook’s Walls include all kinds of other info, plus ads, links to other users and sites, and comments from friends about anything from sports to politics to family gatherings. And Twitter’s 140 character limit has, by necessity, shaped the language Tweeters use. Believe me, I’m not knocking them – I speak as a user and fan of both.
There’s a good deal of data now available suggesting that, just because someone forwards a nonprofit-related Tweet or links to a FaceBook Cause, that doesn’t necessarily – or even usually – translate into donations. They’re both excellent media for getting attention, but too often social capital is all that’s donated. In the search-and-click world of online social networks, just passing on the message is often seen as all there is to supporting the cause. That kind of support leads to broader awareness, and not fundraising results.
With a dedicated online peer-to-peer fundraising app like DonorPages, your supporter becomes the message. By making a personal appeal that is the sole focus of their fundraiser page, your supporter can effectively “make the ask” for actual donations, without all the distractions, restrictions and noise of massive social networks. On an individual supporter’s dedicated fundraising webpage, your supporter is the message (and not your cause)! And the response is “My friend Bill must really believe in this cause. He took the trouble to make this page, and then email me. I like Bill, so I’m going to support Bill!” And, by extension, your cause.
There’s nothing wrong with using the major social media outlets, so long as you understand they effect they have on your supporters ask. But learn from Marshall McLuhan’s decades-old insight, and use a dedicated online peer-to-peer fundraising site to get results!