Kjerstin’s newest problem is prioritizing all her new resources. We’ve all been introduced to Louder Than Words and Consulting Within Reach who are live blogging the pro bono work they are doing for FORGE. But behind the scenes has been a flurry of additional activity. Offers of longer term consulting, foundation introductions, social media expertise, nonprofit financial analysis have all come pouring in. So have inquires regarding various levels of interest in donating (both large and small amounts) to FORGE.
Personally, I am going to make a donation to FORGE. A number of other people have told me they will too. Reader Tony Wang has suggested that The Point, a fundraising widget that allows people to pledge an amount that only gets released if a larger total amount is pledged be used in this effort. I think that donating to FORGE makes sense if we believe that 1) enough short term funds will be delivered in order to close the budget this year and 2) enough long term funds are delivered to build FORGE’s fundraising capacity to match their impact model so that we’re not having this discussion next year.
The Point offers a clever concept. As a donor without knowledge of how other donors are behaving, I might only be willing to make a small donation. But if I know that my pledge will only be release if the rest of FORGE’s donors step up and raise enough to hit the targets, I personally would give significantly more.
So let’s speculate for a minute. Let’s assume that FORGE needs $100,000 to close the budget and $100,000 to build fundraising capacity and maintain a reserve. Remember George Overholser’s concept of “Build vs. Buy”? The general idea is that some donors are customers who “buy” social good with their donations. Some donors are investors who give money to “build” a nonprofit so that it can become sustainable and deliver more social good in the future.
I imagine that there are foundations out there like Skoll (who runs Social Edge where Kjerstin blogs) and Case (which has been very involved in “citizen philanthropy” and online giving) and Hewlett (where president Paul Brest has written about the potential of a “online philanthropic information market”) and Meyer Memorial Trust (which wrote on their blog that the FORGE story “deserves the rapt attention all nonprofit organizations, foundations and donors”) who might possibly be interested in the story unfolding around FORGE. But no one wants to fund a dying nonprofit.
Ever been in a situation where nobody wants to go first, but once the first person moves everyone follows? What if various groups of donors stepped up with “buy” or “build” donations that were contingent on other “buyers” or “builders” playing their role? Could this really happen?
I think it could.