Thursday, 10 July 2008

Charities urged to harness social media

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Charities are having to cope with a fundamental shift in power as unnofficial advocates launch appeals and bring in donors through social media, a fundraising expert said today. Many are struggling to deal with the loss of control brought by supporters using Facebook, blogging, Flickr and other new media to promote their favourite charity brands. "Large charities are finding people taking ownership of their brand without them even knowing about it," said Tom Mansel-Pleydel, head of client servics at JustGiving. "But it can bring a lot of advantages," he told the Institute of Fundraising's national convention in central London. "It used to be a charity's relationship with people started when they became donors but now it can start before they even know about it." He gave the example of a boy whose YouTube video supporting the BBC's Children in Need had generated 160,000 page views. CharlieIsSoCoolLike has raised Pfund300-Pfund400 but is worth far more in publicity terms, Mansel-Pleydel added.

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