News

Funding CC is hard work

Melissa Reeder, April 29th, 2009

Last week an article in the Washington Post casued quite a stir among nonprofits who raise funds online. To Nonprofits Seeking Cash, Facebook App Isn’t So Green says that the “Causes” social network application available on Facebook, MySpace and other social networks hasn’t met expectations. This has provoked a lot of discussion and some deserved criticism of the article in the nonprofit fundraising blogosphere. CC supporter and leading social media expert Beth Kanter has a couple posts that serve as a great place to dive into the discussion if you’re interested.

CC’s experience with the Causes application is in line with most nonprofits mentioned in the WaPo article and subsequent discussion. We’ve raised $2,688 via the application on Facebook and a whole $45 on MySpace. This apparently puts us in the top “tiny fraction” of nonprofits who have used the application and rasied more than $1,000.

However, we don’t consider this a failure at all. Raising funds to support a public good is hard work, online or offline, and there is no magic bullet. It takes time to learn how to most effectively use each new tool. Simply raising money isn’t the only way to gauge the success of a fundraising tool — in fact financial contribution often only follows other forms of engagement. The almost 40,000 people who have “joined” our cause on Facebook have signaled to us (and their friends!) their support, and over the years we hope to earn the financial support of many of these people. Also,we feel it’s pretty important for an organization like Creative Commons to engage deeply with social media tools, because that’s a significant part of the universe we help enable.

We offer a whole range of ways to signal your support of Creative Commons, most importantly by using our licenses. Please explore the best means for you to support CC, and invite your friends to do so as well, on social networks such as Facebook and otherwise. If you can make a financial contribution now, please do so. We’ll ask again during our annual fall campaign!

3 Responses to “Funding CC is hard work”

  1. Beth Kanter says:

    Thanks for sharing (excuse the pun) your experience.

  2. I couldn’t have said it much better.

    The way that I see it is precisely in the “whole range of ways” to support. I mean, the mere usage of any of the Creative Commons licenses (or even any other open/free licenses) supports the work of CC.

    BTW: Have you thought of either mapping (or giving the opportunity to map) the CC Network usernames / Open IDs with a Google Apps account and thus providing an email account or setting up an email forwarding service (a Finnish Internet advocacy association IKI.fi has built one (FLOSS), which is probably still the most common email domain in the Tech/Web scene after nearly 15 years of service).

    IKI has a shortish explanation on their service in English, too, but the point of the service is to enable people to never need to change their email address and have a stable identity online that is _not_ affiliated on a domain level to anything commercial. .. Essentially the same thing (without the email convenience) that Open ID has recently been providing. Email would be a handy addition to the CC Net members’ service. GApps would be by far the easiest way to implement the email. And cost nothing (in service costs).

  3. Thanks Beth, as always!

    Jaakko, that’s an interesting idea re email. I can see some policy hurdles before we’d offer that, but I’m very much thinking about it now. Also, thanks for supporting CC. :)