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March 18, 2010; New York Times | There’s a lot of talk about nonprofits using social media, and still more about best practices for fundraising in that context. The New York Times is getting hip to the trend, as indicated by this arts-focused piece on microdonations.

If you’re familiar with the concept of grassroots fundraising, there’s not really much new here besides a couple of praise-worthy tools for getting the job done. Kickstarter, a service this author has used in the past, is the focus of the article, and the museum-management types the Times interviewed smartly point out that it’s only as good as you make it.

Unlike other donations, to get paid on Kickstarter, your campaign must meet a benchmark that you set. It becomes a challenge for your donors to meet that goal, and they can see in real time how much has been raised. Consequently, you have to lean on your social media networks to make the most of it, or you might be scrambling for funds down the line.

It may not be the best way to make ends meet, but it can provide funds for new endeavors, that brilliant advocacy campaign you had to shelve, or even emergency funds, and it’s an engaging, timely way to interact with your donors.—James David Morgan