Togetherness Liberia by Multimedia Photography & Design - Newhouse School

At the heart of giving and social media alike is a desire to connect fulfilling a need for togetherness. Sometimes that core emotional driver is buried in online solicitations, volunteering acts, fundraisers, and holiday hoopla.

The studies prove it. People feel happier when they give. Similarly, social media books from the all time classic Groundswell to recent entrant Jason Falls’ No BS Social Media all tout how connections cause customers to advocate for and impact business (and nonprofits).

Both giving and social engagement seek a connection between one person and another, and in most cases both acts create a relational expectation of recognition and support. The giver wants to feel like they have helped and made a difference for someone or a community. Online, people want peer recognition. People want to do things together, whether it’s saving the world or watching the X Factor on TV and chatting about it on Twitter.

In a world where you can both fundraise and engage online in social at the same time, isn’t more important than ever to foster connectivity and togetherness? Isn’t that what socially connected donors crave?

When end of year solicitations and holiday fundraisers–or any other time-centric ask for money or time–simply seek to get, and fail to answer the core purpose of connection and togetherness, they stop having value for donor, volunteer and advocate. Instead of inspiring generosity, they inspire silence.

At the heart of the matter, people want to be a part of something. Don’t deny them their rightful outcome because you have a quota to make by January 1.