Fundraising: The New Frontier (Part 2, In Uncharted Waters)

October 6, 2011 § 1 Comment

Overwhelmed yet? The list of social media/online fundraising tactics mentioned in my previous post was just the edge of the cliff (and really more of an encouragement to use them, rather than specifically how. Each organization is different and therefore has many unique traits that can be inspiration!). Anna already mentioned Goodsearch.com and Goodshop.com in her blog post, two methods of charitable giving I had never even heard of (and I began research for this post a while ago)!

There are other websites that encourage philanthropy and make it “easy.” One example is Justgive.org, the “Destination for Online Charitable Giving.” All you have to do is search in your area for local non-profits, or search for a specific organization, and there it is (mission statement and all). Needless to say, it is important to check into these – if your organization is listed, make sure all of the information is current and accurate. Misinformation in the digital age is bound to happen, but keeping it as minimal as possible is important.

There is also (and there are still more):

  • Power2Give (Charlotte, NC area only, but started by their Arts & Science Council)
  • Network for Good which distributes donations
  • Razoo “Easy Online Fundraising”
  • Change.org (more for social causes, but still important!)
  • Globalgiving for projects and non-profits
  • Jolkona “Believes small drops can add up and have a ripple effect of change”
  • DonorsChoose.org for classroom projects/classrooms in need
  • Kiva for giving interest –free microloans to entrepreneurs around the world
  • GiveMeaning “Believe in the ‘Power of Plenty’: That many people giving small amounts in support of a common goal can make big changes in the world."
  • Connect2Charity “Here to help you donate, fundraise, and stay connected with your favorite charity”

Which leads me to a new phenomenon: Crowdfunding. What is Crowdfunding? It is the process of soliciting donations from the public via websites. According to RocketHub: “in a nutshell, it is leveraging your network and audience for funds, awareness, and feedback. Crowdfunding is based on the belief that the power of many small contributions in aggregate can become significant. There are a few different variances of Crowdfunding – some are purely donation based, others are rewards based.” It is already a hit with musicians, filmmakers, small businesses owners and others who need cash to get projects off the ground, and may soon become a viable source for start-ups to raise equity financing.

Some of the more popular Crowdfunding sites:

Some of these sites (such as Kickstarter, Pledgemusic, and Funding4Learning) have a failsafe that holds funds in an escrow account. If the nominated target isn’t reached, all funds are returned to contributors. Some of the others don’t, allowing the projects or people to keep the money raised.

This is unchartered territory for us, and right now I am learning too. I do not have specific advice to offer on how to navigate these new platforms, but I can offer you this. Read this article. It offers some suggestions on how to find and cultivate this new generation of young donors, as well as more detail on Crowdfunding.

So, how about now, feeling a little overwhelmed? In the words of Allison Fine in Momentum (Momentum: Igniting Social change in the Connected Age, Allison H. Fine, Jossey-Bass, 2006):

The Net-Gen is plugged in, moving at Internet speed, and open-minded because they are coming into contact with so much information and so many different people from different places. The world is truly open to them and for them. The Net-Gen is ready to make social change happen. Are activist organizations [nonprofits] ready for them?

– – Helene

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§ One Response to Fundraising: The New Frontier (Part 2, In Uncharted Waters)

  • Stephanie says:

    I think that your last quote really brings up a good question. I replied on Tyler’s earlier post about Kentucky’s Kickstarter that a non-profit’s older donors may not be ready for this kind of technology, but there is still the other side. I tend to think in terms of orchestras, so forgive me, but we’re seeing so many orchestras face trouble these days because they seem to be so set in old ways and “how things have always been.” Senior staff that are making the major fundraising decisions are, by design, more experienced, and therefore older and perhaps not as familiar with new social media that is taking off with younger generations. As much as donors may not be ready for these types of fundraising, are arts organizations truly ready either? I suppose we’ve got some ideas to share with our bosses when we graduate and get jobs next summer!

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