The Community Channel has launched the first online social networking resource aimed specifically at charities and people who have an interest in their work.
The Your Charity Space site will be a forum for people to blog or upload videos about charities or causes they feel passionate about.
Launched on Monday to coincide with the start of National Giving Week, the site is hosted on the Community Channel website and includes a donation facility that has been produced in partnership with the Charities Aid Foundation.
Visitors can make a donation to any charity on the CAF database. Until the end of October, CAF will also donate £50 to a charity chosen by anyone who sets up a regular account.
Wendy Stewart, head of new media at the Community Channel, hopes the new facility will mirror the success of similar networking websites such as MySpace and Bebo.
"This is not intended to take anything away, but to enhance what's already out there," she said.
"It's a very focused service - the evidence shows that people don't just go to specific brands, but they also visit areas of specific interest to them."
The site deliberately uses tools people are familiar with, such as blogs and downloads, so as not to alienate them.
"This is very much something for the sector, but we also hope to get people who are interested in the issues," said Stewart.
In a bid to entice new users, the Community Channel is giving away prizes of £1,000 throughout this week, to be donated to the favourite charities of whoever produces the best 30- to 60-second clips using their camcorders or mobiles.
National Giving Week, which is organised by CAF, has adopted a 'give it up for' theme this week to stimulate giving.
A report by the ICT Hub and the NCVO, published today, argues that charities must think more strategically about technology.
Megan Griffith, a research officer at the NCVO, said: "People will network where they want, so it makes more sense to have a presence on one of the successful existing websites than to set something up. Most users will go straight to the website of the charity they are interested in, so that's what people should invest in."
- Your Charity Space can be found at www.communitychannel.org/yourcharityspace
- Users can donate to any charity on CAF's database
- It is open to all those who work in the sector and to those who are interested in it
- The best video clips will each win £1,000 for a charity of the creator's choice.