I’ve read a lot recently about the growth of the ‘sharing economy’.
The principle is simple: there are loads of people out there who need a little help – and plenty who want to give them a hand. They just need a little matchmaking.
Websites that do just this have been popping up left right and centre – like Couchsurfing where you can rent or let your spare bedroom, Liftshare where you can find a commuting buddy and Zopa (which has been going for a while but has become a lot more popular recently) where you lend or borrow money without a bank getting in the way.
They don’t just help you save money, they’re a way of fulfilling the basic human need to connect to other people meaningfully.
The organisations in this marketplace that are experiencing rapid growth (and grabbing all the media attention) are the ones that put this need first.
So what can we fundraising types learn from this?
Well, it’s a reminder that the organisations we represent are not the most important thing – donors and beneficiaries are. And it’s our job to connect them.
The technology is there to make that happen. Whatever your cause or wherever you operate, mobile and social apps make it simple.
Have a think about it. What are you doing to introduce your donors to each other? They’ve got a shared interest after all. They might like each other.
Are you offering both donors and beneficiaries chances to share their stories? Ask them. They’ll share and everyone will feel a bit closer.
It doesn’t have to be hard. Social networks aren’t just for the digital team, they’re tools for your donor stewardship programme too.