Foursquare for Nonprofits?

By Heidi Genrich

Today Allyson Kapin wonders aloud whether Foursquare, a location-based social network application, is worthy of the recent buzz it received at SXSWi. During SXSW, PayPal and Microsoft contributed $0.25 to Save the Children everytime someone checked-in to an Austin location using Foursquare. Beyond securing large corporate sponsors, how can nonprofits use the Foursquare to meaningfully engage supporters?

As someone who has tried and semi-abandoned social media that utilizes geographic information (Do people really want to know where I’m eating pizza right now?), I’m still waiting for an exciting use of location-based networks.  The Foursquare application makes plain geo-location engaging by adding elements of competition, your recorded visits unlocking points and badges. Unfortunately, not enough of my local friends have adopted Foursquare to make it interesting.

While the small-donation-for-a-check-in model has been affective for Foursquare, it is not the only way for nonprofits to use geographic information. Foursquare – and geographic information in general – opens up exciting possibilities for community nonprofits trying to engage local supporters and organize social action. Geo-location social media can also be used to raise awareness about our daily actions, such as encouraging users to support socially and environmentally sustainable businesses.

Allyson Kapin received several interesting responses from the experts: check out her post on Frogloop!


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