These days anyone can be a philanthropist. The walls of elitism which once surrounded giving back have vanished as your average Jane can request that her friends give to a cause via Facebook or text in a $10 donation to the Red Cross.The obstacles to giving are gone.
Or are they? What about the person who wants to make a difference but has no cell phone? Or the non-profit board member who, no matter how many times it’s explained to him, still hates Twitter? Or the person like me who still hasn’t created a Facebook account (yes, I said it!).
I was recently at an event where a group of hip urbanites all stood around (sexy cocktails in hand, of course) and shared how they had all made donations to Haiti by attending events, Tweeting and texting.
A part of the conversation grated my nerves a tad. I’m a hands-on service type of gal. I like getting my hands dirty coupled with giving. I guess I am an all-around giver.
A recent article on mashable.com highlights the new age of the, “Citizen Philanthropist” – those who no longer want to outsource doing good to a larger organization. There are theories that this will (or has) led to the rise of slacktivism. I would have to agree. I can’t tell you how many times I get into it with my social media pals who think that a solid online campaign is all you need to motivate change. There’s always more to it than that. Non profit organizations need the expertise and tools of social media to couple with what they have been doing long before Twitter, Facebook or anything else existed. It means connecting a cause to a supporter for the long haul.