The problem with Seth Godin

logoThis blog was originally posted to my then-blog host on September 16, 2009.

To Seth Godin, in response to his blog about nonprofits using networking tools

Before you chastise nonprofits for their supposed lack of use of new technologies, you might want to do your homework first. If you had, you would have been overwhelmed with examples of nonprofit groups, large and small, using social-media tools. As the Chronicle of Philanthropy pointed out in its rebuttal of your blog, “shows nonprofit groups are actually well ahead of businesses in their use of social-media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and blogs.”

So what if there are no charities in the top 100 twitter users in terms of followers? The number of followers is NO determination of success that a message is really creating change, any more than number of cars passing a billboard or number of visitors to a web site. Big numbers of viewers does NOT equal big numbers of donors, big numbers of changed behavior, big numbers of event attendees, etc. If there are nonprofits out there who are turning Twitter followers, FaceBook followers, web site visitors, or email newsletter subscribers into volunteers, donors, clients or other supporters, good for them and who cares whether or not they are in the “top 100” group?

But what really infuriates me is your comment “The opportunities online are basically free, and if you don’t have a ton of volunteers happy to help you, then you’re not working on something important enough.” Here’s something you should know: volunteers are NEVER free. Never. Volunteers have to be screened, interviewed, trained and supervised, just like a consultant you hire to do something like manage online activities. That *time* costs *money*. So, yes, resources ARE an issue, particularly when you have corporate donors that balk at the idea of funding a volunteer manager.

Sorry if I sound upset, but I am. Another corporate guy mocking nonprofits, throwing around a lot of ignorant comments. Same old same old. Some paradigms never change. Meanwhile, nonprofits will plug along and keep doing really exciting, worthwhile things, online and off, and they will all be here, doing amazing things, when you’re long gone.

Reminds me of the 1990s, when all sorts of corporate folks did the same chastising regarding nonprofits’ perceived lack of use of the Web and email. Funny: so many of those hot new start ups those people represented are gone, but the nonprofits are still here.

Also see:  Corporations: here’s what nonprofits really need

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