If the boomers have all the money and time for nonprofits, it seems like getting on social networking sites like TeeBeeDee, Multiply, and Eons would be a much better investment of time for nonprofits seeking new donors through social networks than creating MySpace and Facebook pages.
This New York Times article describes several recent rounds of venture capital investments into social networking sites like these aimed at the over-40 and -50 crowd.
“There are 78 million boomers Ã¢â‚¬â€ roughly three times the number of teenagers Ã¢â‚¬â€ and most of them are Internet users who learned computer skills in the workplace. Indeed, the number of Internet users who are older than 55 is roughly the same as those who are aged 18 to 34, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, a market research firm.”
Newsweek ran an essay by Robin Wolaner, the founder of TeeBeeDee last week that provides some additional enlightenment:
“We boomers behave online just as younger people doÃ¢â‚¬â€shopping, banking, learningÃ¢â‚¬â€but we have not yet committed to social networks. Sites like MySpace have felt unsafe or a waste of time . . . The goal was authenticity; that sounds simple, but many ventures aimed at our generation have failed because they think of us as one big market.”
While these sites target older generations, social networking for boomers is a young field. It’s hard to say which of these sites will rise to the top, but if you see social networking as a growing element of your online marketing strategy (and who doesn’t?), it’s worth experimenting with at least one of them. Compared to Facebook and MySpace, the competition from other nonprofit causes will likely be slim — but not for long.