I had an especially busy time last week with a couple of big presentations to give at the same time as I was due to be attending the Resource Alliance’s International Fundraising Congress over in Holland.
Unfortunately, while the presentations went fine, this meant that I didn’t get to see many sessions at the Congress – which is a pity because it’s a unique opportunity to hear from fundraisers from all around the world. However, I did get to talk to some folks from Ammado about their new social network – which is currently in Beta phase.
The Resource Alliance had partnered with Ammado at the Congress, with invitations for all 900+ delegates from some 50 different countries to join the beta test membership, so I joined-up and visited their exhibition stand to learn a bit more about it.
From the publicity materials I had thought that the site was purely intended as a social network for fundraisers – providing an environment within which fundraisers around the world can share ideas, pose questions, and generally feel more connected. All in all, rather like a year-round online version of the International Fundraising Congress. What surprised me was that the Ammado team actually envisage it as also being a general social network for people interested in supporting charities.
I must admit that I’m not convinced that this is going to work for them on a mass market scale – at least not in those countries where online social networking is already becoming established (which is pretty well all developed markets).
The real hard core of a charity’s active supporters might be convinced to join-up – and I can see it perhaps being a good place to communicate with and equip keen volunteers. However, for general supporters there needs to be a very good reason for them to register and maintain a profile on this site as well as on any other social networks they’re already members of – whether that’s MySpace, Facebook, the newly launched over-50s Saga Zone, or whatever.
If people are already active within their own personal networks on sites like these, then that’s where fundraisers should be engaging with them – if they want to benefit from the peer-to-peer fundraising potential on offer. Perhaps Ammado is hoping to ride the growing wave of interest in social networking and catch late adopters who haven’t yet chosen a social network site – but in that case they’ll be up against some very high profile generic site competition.
Only time will tell whether they can achieve their vision of creating an online “community of people who care”. Meantime, however well it develops as a Web 2.0 charity portal, it’s certainly well worth fundraisers taking a look at Ammado as a potential resource for networking and sharing of best practice – which is a very worthy aim for the site in itself.