Recommending Charity: TechMAP - NFP Summit '10

This post (by me) orginally appeared on 's blog as a pre-cursor to my keynoting at the Technology For Good NFP Social Media conference on Monday November 15th - To sign up for tickets check out the eventbrite page here. You are most likely reading this post because, in the course of the last few minutes, maybe hours and at most days someone recommended to you that you should read it. Maybe that was on Twitter. Or Facebook. Or perhaps you physically met with someone (in the context where one might share the delights of a Gingerbread Latte and polite conversation).

However it may have come to be that you now sit with iPhone, iPad (or another of the assorted lesser devices available on the market) in hand, or in front of a personal computer to read this – it’s very likely that someone recommended it to you. That recommendation meant something to you when you received it.

It directed you to this place. It put some narrative around why you should read it in the first place. But it also did something for the person that recommended it to you. They became associated with this blog, this content, this method of consumption – and in turn that told you something about them.

Direction. Narrative. Association. This is the DNA of the recommendation (see what I did there). And it is this DNA that drives the recommendation economy in which we live.

So what does this have to do with Charity? Good question.

Charity is an interesting thing. Philanthropy, giving – whether it be of time or money or resource or talent or information – the concept of giving something away without need to a return is counter cultural. It goes against the grain of our consumer culture. It stands out. That is precisely why recommending charity (or giving) becomes such a powerful thing in the recommendation economy. Because of the “A” in the DNA – the association.

We all like to be seen as being charitable. To be seen as people that give to those in need. Philanthropy carries with it a certain social cache that is hard to replicate with any other kind of activity. Charities also mean a lot to people – by me sharing a recommendation about a charity that I support with you often says just as much about who I am as it does about the Charity I recommend.

Children, Cancer, Animals, Trees, The Environment, The Elderly.

What do your recommendations say about you? The answer – a lot.

It is key for the NFP in the recommendation economy of 2011 to be facilitating recommendation in all it’s forms. Word of mouth, online, in the coffee shop – wherever. I recommend you give it a try.