Tom Watson

Tom Watson is the president and founder of CauseWired, a consulting firm advising clients in the social sector: nonprofits, foundations and companies. Tom is a journalist, author, and consultant who has worked at the confluence of media technology and social change for more than two decades. Tom writes an occasional column for the Chronicle of Philanthropy and he is the author of CauseWired: Plugging In, Getting Involved, Changing the World (Wiley, 2008 ) a best-selling book that chronicles the rise of online social activism. He also serves as adjunct professor in the master’s program in nonprofit management at Columbia University.

Tom’s client work focuses on education, social services, progressive causes, and the pursuit of social justice. Over the years, Tom has worked with many clients in strategic planning, case development, communications, branding development and marketing, as well as fundraising and development planning, including organizations such as the Innocence Project, Vera Institute of Justice, Sidney Hillman Foundation, Cabrini Mission Foundation, TrickleUp, North Shore-LIJ Health System Foundation, the International Center for Journalists, the Case Foundation, Save Ellis Island, the Tiger Woods Foundation, the Tuskegee Airmen, Catholic Relief Services, Christian Blind Mission, the Wealth & Giving Forum, and many others.

During his long career as a journalist, Tom has written for The New York Times, The Daily Beast, Huffington Post,, Social Edge, Industry Standard, Inside, Worth and Contributemagazines, among many other publications. For three years, he wrote the popular Social Ventures blog for Forbes. He writes about politics and media on his personal blog, My Dirty Life & Times, and was the founder and editor of Newcritics, a pioneering group blog on popular culture. Before launching CauseWired, Tom served for nine years as chief strategy officer and co-founder of Changing Our World, Inc., an international philanthropic services company that was acquired by the Omnicom Group, a Fortune 200 holding company. Tom also served as the publisher of, an extensive online resource for philanthropy professionals, and co-founder of the annual Summit onPhilanthropy, a gathering of philanthropy leaders in New York.

Before joining the philanthropy sector, Tom was co-founder and co-editor of @NY, the pioneering Internet news and information service that chronicled the rise New York’s Silicon Alley new media in the mid-90s. Early in his career, Tom was the executive editor of The Riverdale Press, a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper in the Bronx, where he covered politics and won more than a dozen state and national awards for excellence in journalism.

Tom Watson is a frequent speaker and commentator on trends and issues related to media, technology and society and has appeared on shows ranging from CNN’s Moneyline to NPR’s All Things Considered. He has spoken at venues that have included the Global Philanthropy Forum, Clinton Global Initiative, Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Symposium, the Skoll World Forum, MIT Enterprise Forum, the Conference Board, Boardsource Leadership Forum, the Forum on Philanthropy, Association of Fundraising Professionals, and the Performance Institute as well as in university settings, including Harvard Business School, Columbia Business School, New York University and City University London. Previously, he served as adjunct professor in the master’s program for philanthropy at New York University, and as an adjunct professor of new media at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Tom is a member of the Board of Directors of BronxWorks, the largest nonprofit settlement house in the Bronx, and serves on the Westchester County Human Rights Commission. He holds a degree in English literature from Columbia University. He lives in Mount Vernon, NY.

Email: tom <at>