I’ve given my first donation via Twitter
I’ve posted about FORGE in the past (A US based charity that works with displaced communities in Africa). They tried to implement the Kiva model (without the lending part) and it didn’t work too well.
As a result, Executive Director, Kjerstin Erickson, went public about the organisation’s situation.
The story was picked up by Sean Stannard-Stockton at Tactical Philanthropy and a pretty intense debate started. Management consultants, PR people and the general fundraising community all started chipping in and helping out.
The result was that their funding gap was filled and the organisation found itself on a much firmer footing. They still have some way to go, but a visit to their site shows a growing number of projects that are full or partially funded. They are tiny compared to Kiva, but have funded 26 projects this year and raised over $40,000.
That said, they are still an organisation that suffers from a mild case of self-important syndrome.
Their home page focuses on what the organisation does, rather than what the donor can do. What is Forge? and What’s the problem? all take precedence over how a donor can make a difference. The language they use can be described as academic at best (and, at some times, impenetrable). Take their description of refugees for example – “dynamic social and economic actors who have the potential and desire to control their own lives, livelihoods and futures”.
And their emails are even worse, addressing the reader as a “valued subscriber” and promising “periodic emails specific to your interests”.
Transparency is central to the FORGE model, but inaccessible language can act as a barrier as much as a locked filing cabinet.
Ok, gripe over. They do great work and the language can’t be that important to me because I’ve just made my second donation. It wasn’t much, just $2, but It’s the way I gave it that is important – through Twitter.
Or to be precise, through tipjoy, a widget that allows you to donate direct from your paypal account. It’s fast – one click – and seems to work very well. Tipjoy is not just for charities, commercial payments can be made using it as well. More details on exactly how it works can be found on the tipjoy site
I bet you’re busrting to test it now to see how it might work for your charity. So sign up and why not give a gift to FORGE whilst your at it.
Note: If you want to follow me on twitter, you can do it here.