Oct 19, 2009 at 03:16 AM
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What Is Sponsorship's Killer App?

Can Facebook be used to draw support from sponsors? That's the idea behind the new app, Given. Given is a new product created and launched in 48 hours at London start-up event, Launch48. Events like Launch48 are not meant to come up with the perfect, bullet-proof application, but to see how far a simple idea can be taken from idea to code to inception in two days. We haven't yet seen the full application because it hasn't yet been launched to Facebook, but Given's basic idea is to allow users the ability to target the 20,000 companies with Facebook Fan pages for sponsorship and fundraising purposes. Companies can then sponsor events and causes through PayPal, which then gets publicized to feeds, company fan pages and fans of the cause. Targeted exposure seems to be the main benefit to companies, but presumably other benefits could be built in to the proposals companies receive as well. Companies can also seek out causes based on the number of Facebook friends a person has and "other filters."

30 Seconds about Given.org from Given dot Org on Vimeo.

Given appears similar to the popular Causes application, which mobilizes a person's network of friends to support a particular non-profit. Given will be a call to action mechanism to companies on Facebook. Here's what Given says about their new application:

GIVEN helps companies find and support people's causes on Facebook.

It gives companies the ability to publicly sponsor fundraising initiatives - whether they are being led by employees, fans or customers.

This offers companies a new way to engage with people on Facebook and support worthwhile causes.

For fundraisers GIVEN offers a whole new world of potential sponsors beyond their existing network of family and friends. GIVEN helps people raise money from over 20,000 companies that currently have a presence on Facebook.

A fairly impressive idea for a 48 hour turnaround, but you have to wonder how many companies will be able to manage the flood of requests they would get if the app takes off. If Given can streamline and categorize disparate requests around common interests however, then perhaps it could provide some value to marketers. My second issue is do company social media managers have the decision-making power to dole out cold hard cash to events and causes? As more companies get on Facebook and Twitter perhaps the killer sponsorship app doesn't lie in helping properties send offers, but rather helping marketers to manage and filter the flood of ad hoc proposals they get through social media, in a similar way to how SponsorDirect, SponsorWise and Sponsorium currently do through dedicated online portals. Think these systems get flooded with proposals? Do a quick twitter search for any major brand + 'sponsorship' and you'll see a ton of request messages.

Could you ever see a sponsorship app taking off on Facebook or Twitter? If so, what would it involve?