Allison hosts a monthly conversation for the Chronicle of Philanthropy with philanthropic and nonprofit leaders about ways that they are using social media to build and engage their networks, raise awareness of their causes and issues and raise money.

You can also subscribe via iTunes for free.

What’s the Big Idea Podcast:

Coming Soon

Social Good Podcast:


  • Turning the Economy Upside Down

    What would happen if we flipped the economy on its head? On this edition of What’s the Big Idea?. author Doc Searls discusses the concept of the “intention economy”: a system that puts customers’ needs and intents before those of a business.

    Today’s data-driven and personalized marketing is a bubble, says Mr. Searls, who heads projectVRM, a Harvard University Berkman Center for Internet & Society effort to build tools to allow individuals independence in how they interact with businesses of all kinds.

    As demand for online privacy grows, people will be looking for ways to have more control over how, when, and with whom they share their information. And the trend will not bypass nonprofits, which have a lot to gain by giving up on the notion that they have to convince donors and safeguard their relationship with them, he says.

    “If we had standard, simple ways that anybody could contribute either by impulse or by long-term commitment inside of a relationship … it would open up a heck of a lot of fundraising opportunities,“ says Mr. Searls.

  • Cognitive Humility – Knowing What You Don’t Know

    Annie Murphy Paul, author of the upcoming Brilliant: The New Science of Smart and the Brilliant Blog, talks about the concept of “cognitive humility”—recognizing what you don’t know and having an eagerness to learn—on this month’s What’s the Big Idea? podcast.

    Ms. Paul discusses why it is important for organizational leaders to focus less on certainty and more on becoming better learners as models for their organizations. She also discusses why it is so hard for people and organizations to embrace not knowing something as a strength and not see it as a weakness.

  • How to Get Underwhelmed

    The first edition of What’s the Big Idea features Brigid Schulte discussing her book, Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time.

    Brigid and I talk about why work has become overwhelming for so many people and how leaders can ease the burden for their staffs.

    In the coming months, this podcast will explore fresh research and big ideas from outside the nonprofit world and explain how they apply to you. I hope you’ll join us.

  • Spreading Out Social Media Responsibilities

    Amy Sample Ward and Allyson Kapin, co-authors of Social Change Anytime, Everywhere: How to Implement Online Multichannel Strategies to Spark Advocacy, Raise Money, and Engage Your Community, say charities that share online-communications responsibilities are more likely to reach more people and build deeper relationships with their supporters through social networks.

  • Using Humor to Spark Conversation about Nonprofits

    In this episode of Social Good, Leah Neaderthal, chief marketing officer and co-founder at the nonprofit consulting group Start Somewhere, talks about her blog When You Work at a Nonprofit, which uses short animated images from popular culture as a light way to illustrate blunt observations about the perks and hurdles of working for a nonprofit.


  • Going Mobile with Appeals

    In this episode of Social Good, Tom Watson, president of CauseWired, a nonprofit consulting firm, and Kate Forristall, fund director at ArtsKC, a cultural group in Kansas City, Mo., discuss different types of mobile giving and explain how nonprofits can start raising money on smartphones and tablets without spending thousands of dollars to create apps.

  • How Big Data are Changing Philanthropy

    In this episode of Social Good, Bradford K. Smith, president of the Foundation Center, highlights foundations that are doing more to share information and data—and how that openness is helping foundations and their grantees better achieve their missions.

  • Peter Buffett Takes to Twitter to Challenge Philanthropy

    Peter Buffett used The New York Times as the platform for a controversial opinion piece that has sparked a spirited debate about whether philanthropy is solving or perpetuating problems like poverty and hunger.

    But in the months since, Mr. Buffett, co-chairman of the NoVo Foundation and the son of Warren Buffett, says the wave of reactions to his column in social media has changed the way he uses Twitter.

  • Using Social Media to Spur Philanthropic Innovation

    The recently released “Why Contests Improve Philanthropy” compiles lessons from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s six years of offering open philanthropic contests. Mayur Patel of the Knight Foundation and 2010 Knight Arts Challenge winner Willie Stewart discuss why contests are an opportunity for foundations to step out of their comfort zones and reach “unusual suspects,” such as individuals and organizations without 501(c)(3) status.

  • How Social Media Rallied Supporters in Texas

    In this month’s episode of Social Good, two of the activists who led the social-media campaign, Jessica Luther and Virginia Pickel, discuss how they used social networks to rally supporters—and how others can use similar tactics to advocate for their own causes.

  • Mom Bloggers for Social Good

    When Jennifer James started Mom Bloggers for Social Good in 2012, which has attracted 1,000 mothers to use social media and blogs to call attention to issues such as health, education, and hunger.

  • Can Nonprofits Benefit from Bitcoin?

    A few nonprofits are already accepting donations in bitcoins, says Peter Vessenes, chief executive of the Bitcoin Foundation, an organization that is developing the currency approach. But now he says he wants to figure out how the idea can benefit nonprofits and donors.

  • Stifling Employee Passion Online

    Many charities require their employees to maintain separate personal and professional online identities, but that may be antiquated and counterproductive thinking, says Debra Askanase, a digital strategist who has worked at several nonprofit and community-development organizations.

  • Building Loyal Online Communities

    Sarah Robinson, author of Fierce Loyalty: Unlocking the DNA of Wildly Successful Communities, discusses how nonprofits can transform loose networks into groups that will become passionate advocates for a cause.

  • Doing Less is More with Social Media

    Kivi Leroux Miller, a nonprofit marketing consultant, says many organizations clutter their social networks with unnecessary information. As a result, they are often broadcasting messages that are inconsistent with what they want to accomplish.



  • How Foundations Can Use Social Networks to Support Movements

    In the latest episode of Social Good, a Chronicle podcast about how nonprofits and foundations are using social media, host Allison Fine talks to Ms. Laviolette and Mr. Smith about these and other efforts by foundations to into social networks.

  • Should Nonprofits Dive Into Google+?

    Ms. Kanter, who has been experimenting with using Google+ for social good, explains how nonprofits can take advantage of Google+ and discusses how groups can decide how much time to invest in the network.

  • Escaping the Filter Bubble: Lessons for Nonprofits

    Eli Pariser, in his new book, The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding From You, explores these challenges, explains that as the Internet is beginning to reward things that are “likable,” an article about the war in Afghanistan might not get a reader’s attention, he notes.

  • How Small Groups Can Put Social Networks to Use

    Tracy Viselli and Aaron Steinberg are proving that it is possible for even the smallest groups to create effective online strategies.

  • More Than Discounts: Groupon and Social Good

    Groupon is the fastest growing online social network. The site offers discounts for local businesses. It also has a social good arm called the G-Team. Patt Huber, the G-Team’s director, describes how the program works, what she’s learned from the effort, and why it’s important to offer surprises to your fans.

  • The Connection Between GroupOn and Charity

    Groupon began as an offshoot of The Point, an online-giving platform similar to DonorsChoose.org. interviews G-Team’s director, Patty Huber. Ms. Huber describes how the program works, what she’s learned from the effort, and why it’s important to offer surprises to your fans.

  • Social Media from the Foundation’s Perspective

    Lucy Bernholz, blogger and founder of Blueprint R&D and Joel Fleishman, the co-author of the recently released book Give Smart: Philanthropy That Gets Results, join Allison Fine in discussing how age and technology are affecting giving and which foundations have embraced social media.

  • Social Media from the Philanthropists Perspective

    Much of the discussion about social media lately has focused on its usefulness to nonprofits, especially fund raisers. This week’s podcast delves into social media from the philanthropist’s side, as tools like Kickstarter give donors greater access to information about specific causes.

  • Social Media Lessons for Nonprofits from the Middle East

    Interview with Ethan Zuckerman, a researcher at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard and co-founder of Global Voices, and Micah Sifry, author Wikileaks and the Age of Transparency on the role of social media in the Middle East.

  • Using Social Media for Annual Appeals

    An interview with Katya Andresen, chief operating officer at Network for Good, and Lena Shaw, social media marketing manager at the University of California at San Francisco, to learn how charities successfully used social media as part of their year-end fund raising appeals.

  • Protecting Yourself When Social Media Tools Disappear

    Allyson Kapin, co-founder of the Rad Campaign, and Michele Martin, social-media consultant, discuss how users can protect themselves when social media sites transition or go offline.




Copyright © 2018 Allison Fine