Can I Haz a Donation, Pleeezz?

“Romeo the cat” (c) Caroline GolonIn just three months, Romeo the cat has amassed more than 3,800 Twitter followers, helping to raise more than $5,000 for animal rescue groups.

Given the power and popularity of social media, you’d think there would be thousands of stories like Romeo’s. But that’s not true, according to a surprising article in The Washington Post this week.

A prime example: With more than 25 million members, Causes is the third most popular application on Facebook. Yet the Post reports that only a “tiny fraction” of the 179,000 charities registered with Causes have collected more than $1,000 through the site.

And only two organizations (The Nature Conservancy and Students for a Free Tibet) have raised more than $100,000 through Causes.

Back in February, I wrote glowing post about a group named Art Trust that hosts a highly creative social media site that solicits investments in 10 boldy unconventional artistic projects, including one to carve 35-foot prehistoric figures in the bedrock of the Bay of Fundy.

Checking back in, I discovered that the gorgeously designed, media-rich site has pulled in only $1,941 since its launch three months ago—less than half the money that Romeo’s homespun blog has raised over the same time.