When Kjerstin Erickson decided to start blogging about FORGE’s problems on the Social Edge website, her board discouraged her. It was actually a pretty dumb idea by traditional standards. But Kjerstin was actually doing something that to her generation (she’s 25) seems completely natural. She was living her life online.
I’m not of Kjerstin’s generation, I’m about half a generation ahead. But I’m close enough that when I read her very first blog post about her situation, I said that her blog “just became The Most Important Nonprofit Blog”. There was no doubt in my mind that Kjerstin had just embarked on an incredible journey.
I think that what Kjerstin is doing is important. Important in the kind of way that we’ll look back on in a couple years and cite her decision to go radically transparent as a precursor to the way the nonprofit field evolved. That might sound crazy, but I’m not alone. Today, the San Francisco Chronicle picked up the FORGE story. There are thousands of stories of struggling nonprofits right now. Meredith May at the SF Chronicle picked up Kjerstin’s story because of her decision to go transparent.
Like many social entrepreneurs caught in the economic crisis, Kjerstin Erickson is lying awake at night wondering if her tiny nonprofit is going to survive.
But in an unorthodox move, the 25-year-old decided to blog about her charity’s financial problems – despite warnings from board members that she’ll send her remaining donors fleeing…
…After Erickson began blogging last month on the Skoll Foundation’s Social Edge Web site, an interesting thing happened.
Her story went viral after it was picked up by the Tactical Philanthropy blog, and the social entrepreneur community took her on as an experiment in “radical transparency.”…
…Now, socially oriented financial analysts, nonprofit consultants and public relations firms offered to help her pro bono. Among them:
— Some top search engine marketers in New York have challenged themselves to raise $100,000 for FORGE in 100 days by coming up with innovative ways to direct more online traffic to the point-and-click giving on FORGE’s Web site.
— A family foundation in the Bay Area has offered to give FORGE $10,000 if it can raise $20,000 from its donor pool.
— Nonprofit consultant Curtis Chang has agreed to prepare a free sustainability plan for FORGE through his San Jose company, Consulting Within Reach…
…”The story of FORGE has yet to be told,” said Erickson, who is optimistic she will be able to turn things around.
“The goal of all of this is not just that FORGE recovers, but we come out a lot stronger because of it and learn the lessons we need to learn – and that everyone learns with us.”
You can read the whole story here.