What to do about that new generation

first_imgBy Darrenxyz, flickr.I’m turning 40 next week, and one of the depressing consequences is realizing I’m not really a “new generation” of anything anymore. Oh well. Whatev. My day was brightened today, however, by having Network for Good’s Six Degrees profiled in an article in the Wall Street Journal on the “New Generation of Philanthropy.” The article says:Young donors and volunteers, snubbing traditional appeals such as direct mail and phone calls, are satisfying their philanthropic urges on the Internet. They’re increasingly turning to blogs and social-networking Web sites, such as MySpace and Facebook, to spread the word about — and raise funds for — their favorite nonprofits and causes. They’re sending Web-based fund-raising pitches to their friends and families, encouraging them, in turn, to forward the appeals to their own contacts.So what does this mean for nonprofits? What does one do in an online world that is increasingly about this kind of portability and personalization? Is your web 1.0 web destination site enough anymore? What do you do when the “new generation” is constantly generating new stuff, and you’re feeling decades behind in this decentralized new world?I want to share how some smart people just answered those types of questions. Micro Persuasion just dubbed this the “cut and paste” era, which I think is a very good way of summing up the Internet today. Steve Rubel means:Imagine for a moment that you can take any piece of online content that you care about – a news feed, an image, a box score, multimedia, a stream of updates from your friends – and easily pin it wherever you want. Once clipped, you can drop the content on your desktop, an online start page like Windows Live or Pageflakes, “the deck” of your mobile device or even “a crawl” on your Internet-connected television… It’s the coming era of the Cut and Paste Web.Here’s what he – and one of his readers – recommends you do. I agree on all counts.1. Think web services, not websites. What he means here is, make things that plug into other sites. Or better yet, use things that do that for you – like fundraising widgets.2. Connect people. Help consumers clustering around different goals (making money, being entertained, etc.) with something that gives them value while promoting your cause. The LA Fire Department uses twitter to alert people when disaster strikes. I get local government disaster alerts on my cell phone.3. Make everything portable. Make everything you’ve got to offer, embeddable.4. (This one from his reader, Rich Pearson): Understand where and how your content is being used. Check out what is spreading so you know what works, what doesn’t, and what is your ROI.If I had to sum all this up, I’d say this: Do not expect anyone to come to you any more. Go to where people are online.last_img