Charitywebforum debates presence of suppliers on forum

first_img The charitywebforum e-mail discussion list has erupted into a debate about whether for-profit suppliers should be allowed to post messages to the forum that include sales and promotional content.The debate was sparked after a staff member at Justgiving.com responded to a query about e-mail newsletter and marketing tools. Her response included details of Justgiving’s commercial service.This generated a query from another list member at an international development charity who asked whether suppliers should be allowed to post such commercial detail. The discussion then included a number of people arguing that suppliers should either not be allowed to contribute or not allowed to post commercial sales messages. Advertisement AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis About Howard Lake Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world’s first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of GoodJobs.org.uk. Researching massive growth in giving. Howard Lake | 28 October 2003 | News Charitywebforum debates presence of suppliers on forumcenter_img As the discussion intensified the list member who had raised the issue sensibly set up an online poll to seek subscribers’ views, before the list got overwhelmed with the different points of view. With 16 replies so far, there is an overwhelming agreement (87.50%) that commercial suppliers should be able to contribute to the forum but not to sell.While this should help clarify the issue, it sadly might not end the confusion. The message from Justgiving.com that sparked the debate was initially informative, and only in the last paragraph did it include some overt sales message. When is a post a sales message?This issue has occasionally cropped up on the UK Fundraising Forum over the years. Since the start we have always encouraged contributions from commercial suppliers since they are an essential element of the fundraising sector. That said, we have always insisted that they may not post direct, unsolicited sales messages to the Forum. Instead, they are welcome to provide informative responses to relevant questions: in these responses, if they have a relevant service or product then they are welcome to post brief details.But when is a response too overtly commercial? That comes down to the role of a moderator. In the case of the UK Fundraising Forum, Howard Lake checks every contribution before they go live on the site. This is the only way to keep the debate focused, help fundraisers improve their effectiveness, and spread information about the various services and products available to them.Moderation will also, incidentally, help remove the scourge of the “I am away from the office” automatic response which is currently e-mailed to every subscriber. This had the result today of generating a 112Kb message, an almost exact copy of yesterday’s, to all those subscribed to the digest version of the discussion. It would also prevent the appearance of offensive adult content, such as the message that appeared twice on the list on 24 June 2003.The charitywebforum poll seems to have come to a very sensible conclusion, but it will require daily moderation before the forum can be equitable for both fundraisers and suppliers. Tagged with: Consulting & Agencies Digital  22 total views,  1 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThislast_img

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