Networked Philanthropy [Updated]
How the networked platform is changing the face of philanthropy.
Many social media professionals are already familiar with Chris Anderson’s Long Tail, but if you’re not, here’s the concept in a nutshell. Traditional markets have tended to follow an 80/20 distribution, e.g. 80% of the populations are going to love 20% of the available bands (think the Beatles). That’s your macro market. The introduction of e-marketplaces has added infinite shelf space to many industries, the most obvious being the music industry. Enter the age of Indie bands, and infinite Micro markets. The interesting thing about the 80/20 rule is when the networked platform is introduced is that 80% of the potential market rests on lower end of the individual market size, i.e. the success of Rhapsody and iTunes.
As a member of Cisco’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team, I began to wonder what this meant for philanthropy. A few weeks ago, the NY Times published an interesting article about D.I.Y Foreign Aid.
This peaked my interest and after digging around for more information I stumbled onto the work of Katherine Fulton. For a few years, Katherine has been speaking about the potential of the Internet combined with social good and philanthropy. In March of this year, at Northern Calfornia Grantmakers, Katherine shared an astonishing graph that plotted the history and evolution of philanthropic organizations in the United States.
This is almost an exact invert of the long tail graph, suggesting that the long tail had officially hit philanthropy. I’m still investigating this concept, and working with some of our non-profit partners, but I felt compelled to share these findings.
Please let me know what you think, or share any similar observations.
Please keep it coming, this is great stuff!