Veteran Silicon Alley news guy and publisher of OnPhilanthropy.com , Tom Watson has come out with one of the first books about social media for nonprofit organizations. CauseWired: Plugging In, Getting Involved, Changing the World takes a look at the impact of social networks, blogs, podcasts and Web video on society.
As more and more organizations are looking toward new and more affordable ways of reaching constituents, understanding how to best use social media tools can be a barrier. While CaseWired is not a basic "how-to" book for the absolute beginner, it does outline examples of nonprofit organizations who have used social media tools to promote a cause and encourage activism.
Consider this book more of an overview of the thinking behind social media used for social causes, an introduction to some of the innovators, and commentary on what has transpired to date and what we might anticipate in the future. Also remember that any book about the Internet becomes outdated even before it hits the presses, however, Watson continues to blog and write about the topics he has brought up in the book including a blog on his book's Amazon.com page.
The combination of what the next generation expects and what it has access to will change the nature of philanthropy and giving and causes. It is often observed by fundraisers that the Baby Boomers heading toward retirement and asked to make contributions to causes expect two things: personal involvement and results. You can see that both in the explosion of 501(c)3-registered organizations and in foundations. The trend-watchers tell us that writing a check isn't good enough for many of today's major donors.
This is driving innovation in information sharing and communications. Sites promoting acts of generosity and kindness, such as Kiva , DonorsChoose , ChangingthePresent , Global Giving , Razoo , Social Actions, DoSomething , Karmadu, Change.org, FirstGiving , and WorldChanging.com , and the philanthropic efforts of social networks like Facebook , LinkedIn , Friendster , MySpace , and many others, are making the public adoption of causes part of the social-networking experience.
Buy the Book: CauseWired: Plugging In, Getting Involved, Changing the World , Wiley (November 10, 2008)