Debra Askanase, aka @askdebra, has written a terrific post over at the Care2 blog,Why “Free Agent” Social Communities Rock. Debra builds on the concept of free agents that Beth and I describe in The Networked Nonprofit. We defined free agents as individuals, fluent with social media, raising awareness, funds and organizing for causes. It’s awfully exciting to watch as a concept that we crafted gets read (phew!) and then tugged on and made better by smart people like Debra.
The essence of Debra’s piece is that whole communities of folks are using online social networks to identify causes and nonprofit for which to fundraising. She cites several examples, my favorite being the Cake Wreck’s Blog, because it’s a great example and because, well, anything that has cake in the title is going to be OK by me! Here’s how Debra descries this free agent community:
“The Cake Wrecks blog began their Christmas Charity Countdown in 2009 to raise money for 12 different nonprofits in 12 days. As Cake Wrecks writes: “Many of you remember this crazy thing I did last year, when John and I skipped gifts and decorations and instead donated to a different charity each day for two weeks. I asked you guys to recommend places to give, and invited you to join us by giving a single dollar each day to the featured charity. But the really crazy thing is that a lot of you did.” This year, Cake Wrecks reintroduced the Christmas Charity Countdown, asking for recommendations of places to give, and asking readers to donate $1.00 a day to 12 different nonprofit organizations. Over 12 days, the Cake Wrecks fundraiser generated almost $23,000 in donations. Over 4,500 people donated, primarily in increments of less than $5.00.”
The idea of free agent communities for fundraising has all sorts of exciting possibilities like flash mobs for raising funds. My thanks to Debra for taking our idea in such an exciting direction.