In this week's Chronicle of Philanthropy, there's an interesting story on tech uses gone...well, not awry, but let's say not as successful as hoped.
It's about nonprofits who are trying to use Myspace, Facebook, and texting to raise both awareness and money.
Read the story, and you'll see what I mean when I say--you HAVE to know the territory when you move into it. The successful nonprofits on MySpace, for example, have engaged college students to make sure that what they are posting does, in fact, engage people and does not just look like a clueless parent at a frat party.
Really, this all boils down to another application of the classic marketing cycle. Whether its a new service, a marketing blurb, an online application, it's all the same: figure out who your market is, ask/research what they want and give it to them to the extent you can. And, there is also a bit of ignorance here of the needs versus wants rule: We all have needs, we all seek wants.
The online world is no different.