As Elizabeth Dunn and others are discussing lately, the question to answer is not whether you and your organization should use new media networking tools or not, but which ones and for which purposes.

One major factor in deciding between the growing list of social networking sites, is the age group of your donors, supporters, or service members. Facebook and Myspace are the ones you probably hear the most about but many feel that these sites are only used by college-age and twenty-somethings. Actually, Facebook has seen a 98% increase in the last year of users 35 and older (click here for more metrics).

Elizabeth does an excellent job at facing this dilemma using the metaphor of learning a new language:

Of course most of your current donors aren’t on Facebook and MySpace – it’s still a pretty new thing for most of the population. However, most internet usage has historically been led by the young and the early adopters, followed – in time – by the rest of the general population.

When your constituency finally makes it to Facebook, MySpace, or whatever global site we are using in 5 to 8 years, don’t you want to be there when they go looking for you?

And don’t you want to be already quite good at it?

Of course you do! Getting started with networking and fundraising tools now will help you gain supporters, volunteers, fundraisers, and even partners both in the short term and the long term.

Has your organization made the dive into social networking yet? What was the most surprising part of the new tools?

To network, or not to network, is NOT the question!
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