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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is your cause wired for '09
It probably happens to you once or twice a year.

A well known charity knocks at your door during its annual fund raising appeal. You make a donation and in return get a receipt. This brief encounter speeds your money off somewhere to help someone somehow. Or you might donate regularly to an aid agency that sends out an annual letter about a sponsored child...
Published on December 29, 2008 by B. Crawshaw

versus
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, theoretical, but not the nuts and bolts information that I need
This is an interesting book to read, but it reminds me of those communications theory books that I read in journalism classes. It does frequently reference in passing different "social media" mechanisms that I have found useful, but doesn't really give me the step by step instructions that I am looking for.
I think that this book would be helpful for someone who had...
Published on April 19, 2010 by L. Johnson


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is your cause wired for '09, December 29, 2008
It probably happens to you once or twice a year.

A well known charity knocks at your door during its annual fund raising appeal. You make a donation and in return get a receipt. This brief encounter speeds your money off somewhere to help someone somehow. Or you might donate regularly to an aid agency that sends out an annual letter about a sponsored child in the third world.

This remote control philanthropy - where your donation helps someone but you're unsure who or how - is set to change according to US author Tom Watson. In his book Cause Wired he argues that Web2.0 technology is arming not for profit organizations with "weapons of mass collaboration" and transforming how people support good causes.

Watson believes that social networking applications like Facebook, MySpace, Linkedin etc are evolving from personal promotion into important fund raising, activist and political tools. And it seems internet users of all generations are welcoming the change. Members of Generation Y find that digitally supporting the issues they believe in is a natural extension of living their lives in public, online. And Baby Boomers are attracted because the new ways of online giving allow them to be personally involved and see results for themselves.

Watson explains how pioneer charities are beginning to use the power of Web 2.0 to gather, sort and distribute information to donors in a way once reserved for only their very wealthiest supporters. kiva.org is probably Cause Wired's best example of online fund raising. This digital not for profit allows small scale donors to use their credit cards and laptops to help struggling entrepreneurs in developing countries. For a $25 upwards you can join with others to loan money to specific individuals in specific countries such as a group of women needing sewing machines for their garment start-up or impoverished taxi drivers urgently after car repairs. Kiva works through established non government organizations (NGOs) and the web to provide the loans, monitor repayments and continually report back to donors through reports and images from the field.

Watson also cites other cases where digital philanthropy is achieving equally impressive results but he tempers his enthusiasm. While a campaign on a social networking site like Facebook may raise awareness of an important environmental, human rights or other issue, the actual fund raising figures for many charities still remain modest.
Cause Wired also explores how Web2.0 can empower political organizations and community movements to connect with citizens and consumers. Perhaps Barack Obama's Presidential election campaign is among the most powerful example of new media technologies helping to win a cause.

While Watson's 236 page book is enthusiastic about the new possibilities it acknowledges its limits. Online causes can get tens of thousands even millions of people talking. But they still need online leaders. Just like the bricks and mortar world committed individuals who can organize, coordinate, administer and generally keep things moving are still at a premium. And transitioning this digital attention to real world results is still the acid test. Once you have raised awareness you still need to motivate people to take out their cheque books and man the barricades.

Cause Wired is a very good, easy to read book.

It is a must for marketers in not for profit and community organizations who want their fund raising efforts to remain competitive in the coming year.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read for Nonprofit Professionals, December 5, 2008
It is a very well written and researched look at how these tools have been are being leveraged for social change in way that is new and will continue have major implications. The book is a cogent analysis of the past, current, and future of online activism and fundraising using social networking tools. It's the perfect book to hand an executive director or board member or Communications VP who may not be as hands on with these tools as we are - and needs to understand the big picture.

Beth Kanter
Beth's Blog
[...]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timely and Inspirational, January 3, 2009
By 
Philip Maher (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
CauseWired by Tom Watson describes an ongoing revolution in philanthropy sparked by the Internet's social networks. Sites like Kiva, DonorsChoose, and Change.org allow people to choose the global or local causes that matter most to them, to donate even small sums according to their preferences and passions, and often to see how their efforts benefit those causes.

A fluid and engaging writer, Watson, who knows the entrepreneurs behind these sites, and has participated in charitable and online start-ups from the Web's early years, describes how even Facebook and My Space allow people to add causes to their profile pages, making causes like AIDS/HIV awareness or cancer research part of their "identity." By advocating these causes with badges and inviting their "friends" to join, they raise awareness and passion even if they're not contributing money, because of youth or (temporarily) insufficient means. While major philanthropists like Warren Buffet will always play the biggest roles, a multitude of friends can make a big impact on any number of causes, from stopping genocide in Darfur to promoting women's health to education or cancer research--whatever issue hits closest to one's heart.

Watson also describes "Flash Causes," where millions of people blog, petition, and phone politicians and bureaucracies, such as insurance company Cigna, which denied Nataline Sarkisyan a liver transplant until she died; or Mukhtaran Bibi placed under house arrest by her native Pakistan for speaking out about human rights; and even the victims of hurricane Katrina. Using the Internet's social networks, people can call up virtual storms of outrage. These can, and have, pressed higher powers into action.

In the wake of the online groundswell that helped to elect Barack Obama, this book is timely and inspirational. Causewired is a phenomenon that is still in its infancy, but is already changing the world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CauseWired- right on time for savvy nonprofits, November 20, 2008
I just finished reading CausedWired by Tom Watson[...]. Tom writes about how individuals and institutions are changing the face of philanthropy using new media tools. We are living through an exciting time where you don't have to be a socialite or a fortune 500 CEO to be a philanthropist. You can be a high school student with a facebook account or a young professional that connects using Twitter. The book is a great study on how Gen X and Y are being philanthropic and how nonprofits are changing how they interact with the public to be more accessible using these tools. This is one of the few books that I read that immediately caused me to do something I said I would never do. After reading the first two chapters I opened a Facebook account and connected with my organization's donors and volunteers. CauseWired made me rethink that position. Multiple access points helps individuals get to know your cause and while we aren't using those tools as a fundraising method right now, being accessible better connects you to supporters and makes your work more transparent. CauseWired is a great study in how these web 2.0 tools are being used, who is using them effectively, and what the true potential is of these mediums.

This book is a must read if you are developing strategies for reaching new donors and supporters using web tools.

Trista Harris
[...]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CauseWired is a book about real change in the way we do good, December 6, 2008
By 
Marnie L. Webb (Berkeley, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
There are books that tell you how to deal with social media. In fact, there are A LOT of books that do that.

CauseWired is different.

Tom Watson's book describes the changes that organizing is going through because of the ways that people can find, share and support the causes they care about.

He makes the excellent point that nonprofits need to stop thinking of every technology tool as a way to raise and catalog money (though he never ignores that that is important). Instead, he shows how the people pushing cuses toward change should be thinking of tools like Facebook, twitter, blogs and the technologies behind them as ways of connecting people for mobilization, awareness and changes that we can't quite imagine yet.

The book is personal, filled with stories of change. It's an easy and informative read.

If you are engaged in trying to change the world, you should get CauseWired today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CauseWired Makes Good Sense -- and Good Reading!, December 23, 2008
CauseWired is a cogent roadmap of today's activist sector. This book is a fun overview of how the world of activism and philanthropy has changed during and because of the digital age. Find out what is working in social change activism and why, who is doing great work, and how you can join in the action. I highly recommend CauseWired - buy it, read it, share it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Handbook for Learning About Online Activism, December 6, 2008
By 
This is a great book for grassroots activists to understand how to go online. Watson knows technology and does a nice job at demystifying all of those buzzwords that we hear all the time and clearly explains how to use this new generation of tools to change the world for the better.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly interesting, January 13, 2010
By 
K. Weber "melydia" (Springfield, VA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is not a book I would have read had I not received it for my participation in Blog Action Day 2008. (Yes, I've had the book for a year and just now got around to reading it. That's actually pretty good considering there was no deadline.) I'm not usually interested in current events books (that's what the internet is for) or books about how OMG teh intarwebs are changing everything (ditto). But I also never pass up a free book, which has probably done more to broaden my horizons than any concerted effort on my part.

But that's neither here nor there. The fact of the matter is that I would not have picked up this book on my own, but I'm glad I read it. It is more or less a discussion of the impact of social media (Web 2.0, Facebook, that kind of stuff) on philanthropy. From Hurricane Katrina to the 2008 US presidential campaign to a myriad of other internet start-up charities, there's a whole lot of information in this relatively slim volume. I was particularly drawn in by the descriptions of Kiva and DonorsChoose, both of which are about reducing the middlemen between the donor and the receiver. I even made a loan on Kiva to Saret Sao in Cambodia. The idea of helping a specific person really appeals to me, and the knowledge of what exactly my money is doing makes me want to donate more. At worst, I don't get my $25 back. I can deal with that. At best, I help a businesswoman grow her business. Which is awesome.

Some of the book bored me, such as the discussion of the 2008 presidential campaign. I suspect that might be because it's too recent; I'm still tired of the nonstop politicking leading up to the election. The liberal bias was a touch irksome too, which is telling considering I voted for most of the candidates Watson was praising. (For example, where did he get the idea that Ron Paul was an anarchist? People who are truly anti-government don't run for office under the banner of a major political party. They'd put all their cronies out of a job.) I suspect, being a blogger and a Twitterer and a Facebooker and (sort of) a "millennial" already, I am not the target audience anyway. But once elections were off the table, the rest of the book was surprisingly engaging, and made me want to do more research on my own. The list of links and references in the back alone are worth photocopying.

So in short: I'd recommend this book if you're a jaded would-be philanthropist looking for new opportunities. Yes, the billionaire donors are still the world-changers, but slowly us ordinary guys are banding together and making a difference.
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5.0 out of 5 stars CauseWired is a must read for nonprofits, December 5, 2008
Tom Watson explores the societal impact of online social networks in his new book CauseWired: Plugging In, Getting Involved, Changing the World. CauseWired is the first book focused on making sense of social media in the nonprofit world. Watson not only gets it -- but he also explains why social media matters in understandable terms.

The book begins by explaining that wired causes are on important aspect of how social networks impact our world. These "CauseWired consumers are superinformed consumers who expect to create and support causes, change politics, and have personal involvement in the brands they support economically."

Watson addresses the hype factor of Web 2.0 and goes on to explain how the "sheer number of users is staggering" and can't be discounted. Part of his research for the book required him to dive into the medium. Tom's companion website for the book can be found at [...] and gives an ongoing account of changes that continue to transform wired causes.

To understand the context for wired causes, Tom Watson recounts his own personal journey through the many technological twists and turns he has witnessed. He wants the reader to understand why these changes in media and technology are transforming the "underlying human impulse to help others" and how to think about where this is all going in the future.

The book points out that "using the power of the network to distribute a story, to sign people up to support a cause, and to occasionally bring them into the street is at the heart of the CauseWired revolution." Other nonprofits like Bright Hope International have also been able to reach the next generation of supporters by embracing social media and networks.

Watson believes that there are two major trends on a collision course: "On one hand, people are ever more conscious of philanthropy and its role in commerce and society; on the other, these people are talking to each other more than ever before." The traditional fundraising practices of acquisition, cultivation, and stewardship are forever changed by wired causes. Are you prepared?

The book ends with an extensive list of websites, blogs, social media sites, and other books worth reading. This is a great place to continue your understanding of some of the major concepts and examples featured in CauseWired. And sprinkled throughout the book are comments and insights from respected people in the nonprofit industry like Beth Kanter, Joe Green and Sean Parker, Allan Benamer, and Allison Fine.

Tom Watson's CauseWired is must reading for anyone in the nonprofit world. I have covered a lot of the aspects of the book in this review, but there is so much more to be discovered in its pages. I still didn't give away the really really good parts. Order your copy today.

(full review at [...]
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5.0 out of 5 stars A roadmap to cause agents and change makers, December 8, 2008
By 
In the past two years I've been more and more drawn to the world of social causes. (I'm the co-founder of Ourmedia.org and the upcoming Social Media Camps.)

But something was missing. I needed a roadmap. A guide to the world of using Web 2.0 to do good.

So it was serendipitous that Tom Watson came along with his timely, practical and clueful "CauseWired." (Disclaimer: I'm briefly quoted in it.) I just finished reading this 225-page pearl (the paperback) and now feel much more grounded in knowing the who, what and whys of social actions and philanthropy in the digital age. And, importantly, the "OK, what now?"

Watson, a meticulous veteran journalist, offers an accessible, thoroughgoing lay of the land: He explores the efficacy of online efforts to end the genocide in Darfur, dissects the new phenomenon of peer-to-peer philanthropy, chronicles the rise of flash causes and looks at the impact of social media open source projects. Fortunately for us, the writer offers telling anecdotes and personal storytelling to keep the narrative engaging.

On an almost weekly basis I'm now bumping into the movers and shakers in the social causes world that Watson so artfully profiles in "CauseWired." If you're interested in getting a better grip on the burgeoning philanthropic and social change movements taking place on the Web, put down the mouse for a while and pick up Tom Watson's excellent guide to people who are changing lives and to the causes that really matter.
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CauseWired: Plugging In, Getting Involved, Changing the World
CauseWired: Plugging In, Getting Involved, Changing the World by Tom Watson (Paperback - December 7, 2010)
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