Four Square and Cause World – social media innovations for fundraising?

19 June 2010 | By Cause4 staff

In the past 5 years Social Media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have revolutionised the way individuals interact. Companies now dedicate entire departments to utilising social media to interact with potential customers and more and more funding is looking at new ways of utilising online strategies.

The charity sector has far from avoided this inevitable move into the world of social media and with the growing influence of the Iphone and other smart mobiles it hasn't taken long for apps to become available that suit fundraisers.

Foursquare and Cause World are two such apps. Both focus on users announcing their locations to the rest of their online community by tagging their locations at different landmarks in varying cities across the globe. Both ‘give people virtual badges when they check in. These badges are displayed on the profiles of individuals, in what appears to be nothing more than a sophisticated game of hide and seek. However, momentum is growing in the Third Sector regarding their use for fundraising activities.

For each ‘tag’ you make in Cause World for instance you earn a number of points which when totalled up can be used to donate things to good causes in the real world thanks to the help of varying corporate partners. You can for instance, support a classroom, plant a tree and help supply clean water as just a few of the good causes available and these seem to be growing everyday from a wide variety of charities such as the American Red Cross, Carbonfund.org and Global Giving.

Utilising Four Square, Microsoft and Pay Pal teamed together to donate $0.25 to Save the Children for every person who tagged themselves in Austin, Texas on a given day.

The possibilities their use in the Third Sector should not be underestimated. Could charities in the UK seek to galvanise communities to come out in support of events or volunteering opportunities by securing a similar deal with a company here in the UK? What greater incentive can there be for communities to participate in local initiatives than by earning money purely by turning up and tagging themselves? The possibilities seem endless and in Big Society speak - an easy way to encourage people to take a role in their local communities.

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“We are pleased to support the development of these materials, through Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy, to provide a comprehensive bank of knowledge and experience that can be easily accessed by leaders of arts organisations and practitioners, both in the UK and internationally. One of our priorities at the Arts Council is to help arts and cultural organisations become more resilient and sustainable as they explore new revenue streams.”

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of ACE

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