Major tweeters replace major donors as we nonprofits fall quickly into the same old snare

Enter the first nascent heresy of the nascent Transformational Giving age.

Be very on your guard. Even as it traditional/transactional fundraising (ttf) begins to publicly hemorrhage and die, here begins to emerge the next battleground for Christian development.

Roger from The Agitator cites, approvingly, a post by Seth Godin about clout which posits that in a world of equal opportunity Tweeting, some Tweeters may be more equal than others by virtue of their extensive use of social networking and thus the size of their networks.

In other words, just as for years we’ve paid special attention to major donors because they have more money than anyone else, we’re now entering an age where we will be encouraged to pay special attention to major social networkers because they have more influence than anyone else.

Writes Godin:

If you knew which of your followers had clout, you could invest more time and energy in personal attention.

Adds Roger from The Agitator:

I’m happy to report that at DonorTrends we’ve taken an important first step in helping you find the most “cloutful” among your donors, activists and volunteers. It’s our new identification and screening service called SociaLeaders ™ and it gives you an inexpensive way of spotting those folks who are the  heaviest users of social networks like FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

I say, “an important first step” because as Seth noted in an exchange of emails, quantity of friends is not the only, or even most important, factor that yields clout.

Of course, Seth’s right, and what SociaLeaders ™ does provide is an important starting point for zeroing in on likely “missionaries,”  “recruiters” and potential “super donors” who warrant  further communication and investment in cultivation.

As we’ve reported before, our DonorTrends surveys of donors and what we call “donor superstars” — the category where we find missionaries and recruiters — show a disproportionately high use of social networks.

To encourage Agitator readers to begin finding out who your social network leaders are, DonorTrends is offering a FREE 500 name test.  Just click here to get the ball rolling.

But ye have not so learned Transformational Giving.

Let me be emphatic:

TG is not compatible with the substitution of influence for wealth as a criterion by which we determine how we categorize our champions and how we allocate our time for coaching.

TG Principle 10 currently states:

Champions categorize themselves not according to the amount of their giving but by the degree of comprehensive personal ownership they are exhibiting in the cause.

I see now it needs to be formally augmented as follows:

Champions categorize themselves not according to the amount of their giving or influence but by the degree of comprehensive personal ownership they are exhibiting in the cause.

Why do we spend more time coaching some people than others in TG? Is it because they have more money? Because they have a larger network of influence?

By no means.

We spend more time coaching some people than others in TG because some people are more ready to own the cause in their sphere of influence, regardless of the size of that sphere.

Never, ever lose sight of the fact that our goal is neither the growth of our ministry nor even the spreading of our cause. Our goal is that those within our sphere of influence might be brought to the likeness of Christ in relationship to the cause Christ has given us to champion.

That means that we are not to find the most influential people and train them but rather we are to train the people we influence the most.

Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. (Eph 4:25. KJV even.)

As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:26-31,

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

May you always coach the lowly and despised of this world. May you always speak truth with your neighbor.

May you never chase Tweets.

About Pastor Foley

The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is also the International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
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2 Responses to Major tweeters replace major donors as we nonprofits fall quickly into the same old snare

  1. Matt Bates says:

    Great stuff here.
    One question for the sake of clarification: would you agree that influence can be a sign of exhibiting personal ownership (when that influence is leveraged on behalf of the shared cause)?
    In other words, can we use influence, leveraged on behalf of the cause, as an indicator of one’s readiness to own the cause in their sphere? I’m not suggesting that this is the only indicator, but it would seem to be a useful one.

  2. EFoley says:

    It’s a great question, Batesy. I think that influence related to the cause can be one sign of exhibiting personal ownership, though not always correlated to maturity in the cause. (There are many people who hold a great deal of influence in subjects about which they really understand little.) But what The Agitator folks are measuring is influence in general, which is a horse of an entirely different color. Madonna holds a great deal of influence, but it always annoys Jewish people when she holds forth as an expert in kabbalah.

    And then there’s Sean Penn.

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