March 27, 2010

Do Charities Have a Home on Foursquare?

I've been playing around recently with Foursquare—the location-based social-media Web site that is being called "the next Facebook" in some circles.

The idea behind the site is simple: people can update friends in their network on wherever they are. If you're at the corner Starbucks, out for dinner at your favorite sushi joint, or getting your oil changed, you can tell the people in your network.

And, if you're lucky, you might just find out that one of your friends is there, too.

To provide incentives for using the site, Foursquare gives people virtual badges when they check in. Those badges are displayed on each person's profiles.

And, if you check in at certain locations a number of times, you can become the "mayor" of that location.

Some businesses have latched on to Foursquare as a marketing tool. For example, they offer a personal barstool to the mayor or discounts to people who tell their friends when they are visiting.

It's smart marketing if you own a bar or restaurant. Your patrons are essentially advertising for you when they say they are at your establishment. Why not give them an incentive to do so?

However, I've yet to see nonprofit groups can make that use Foursquare.

Is your organization using the site to raise awareness about your cause? Are there ways for nonprofit groups to get into the act?

Post a comment if you've seen an example or if you have ideas for how nonprofit groups can use Foursquare.