Online Fundraising – A Unified Approach

How can web 2.0, ‘peer-to-peer’, or ‘friend-to-friend’ fundraising benefit your school or church group? With so many options now available, which one do you choose? Do you simply put your cause on Facebook, or set up a webpage stating your cause and goals then email everybody and hope for donations to roll in? What do you do a week later if you haven’t gotten any response? How do you get donors interested and keep them involved? Video is one of the most powerful tools on the internet and has the potential to be one of the most successful platforms to promote the need for donations to a cause. Even so, people are still struggling to find the best use of video sharing along with other web 2.0 technology for raising money.

The modern concept of a friend-to-friend approach using web 2.0 fundraising is appealing because of its relative ease and far-reaching potential. Donors anywhere on the globe can be exposed to your nonprofit’s cause because of the world-wide web. Simply asking people to donate is highly effective, yet most of us feel more comfortable sending a solicitation email than cold-calling people asking for money. According to an article in the NonProfit Times dated November 9,2009,, “Those surveyed who said they planned to give said emails or enewsletters (27 percent) and direct mail (28 percent) also influenced the decisions, the first time the two channels have been almost equal. Peer-to-peer fundraising is still making its mark – 23 percent said an email from a friend or family member encouraged them to support a fundraising effort.” By combining email with social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, the requirement to ask face-to-face and in real-time is diminished. In the comfort of their own computer desk, what will motivate them to give? If you aren’t looking your potential donors right in the eye, how do you maximize your opportunity for them to commit in this age of web 2.0 fundraising?

With the right on-line 2.0 fundraising tools, schools, churches, and athletic teams can engage their supporters in ways that were not possible in the recent past. It is a known fact that a story well-told motivates people to give. Pitching your nonprofit’s cause via video allows potential donors to put a human face on your cause and enables information and emotion to be passed to the viewer. Because donors like to have closer ties with those that they are supporting and want to see results — the difference their donations are making, video-sharing is an effective tool to accomplish this by keeping donors updated and informed about a cause’s progress. This allows donors to feel that they are partners in the nonprofit’s work that you are asking them to support. It doesn’t matter if they are donating to a large charity or to help their niece’s cheerleading group go to camp, supporters like to see the smiles their donation helped put on those real faces. Since feedback is important, showing gratitude to the donors with acknowledgments, or even a special ‘Thank You’ video is also a nice finishing touch. The actual making of the video can be as simple or as sophisticated as the cause requires or is able. Schools and churches may find that the production of the video may be leveraged into a class or group project that brings people together, fostering community and additional sense of purpose. It is a plus if the video-sharing platform allows multiple video uploads and archiving to better keep supporters engaged.

According to THINKSOCIAL at the Paley Center for Media Advancing the Public Interest of Social Media: “Supporters want to know the destination of their donations, and non-profit organizations and donation platforms like charity:water, DonorsChoose.org, and Kiva are answering that question with information and powerful storytelling and images. Furthermore they are making it easy for their participants to share specific people and initiatives in need to celebrate the successes along the way. Examples include… ‘Invisible Children’ as part of its ‘Schools for Schools’ campaign, blogs photos of schools being built thanks to donations from ‘Invisible Children’ supporters. DonorsChoose.org posts photos and thank-you notes from the students whose classrooms received requested school supplies or were able to go on an educational field trip based on donations from the site.”

As in real life, the key to a successful web 2.0 fundraiser is to conduct an event or a campaign with a timed duration. Having a defined beginning and end to your campaign creates a sense of urgency that open-ended donation sites lack in their appeals. In a study conducted by techsoup.org average donation amounts were higher in deadline-driven appeals than in open-ended campaigns.

With that said, where does one start? It is important to know that email solicitation and social networking; deadline-driven campaigns; or video-sharing alone, will not be as effective as a multi-channel web 2.0 approach which integrates all features as a means to facilitate fundraising. As of this writing, only one fundraising website — http://www.streamthatcause.com — integrates video-sharing and social networking, a deadline-driven campaign function, as well as blogging in a unified platform. These are tools that when effectively yielded by determined users will not only allow your charity or nonprofit to save lots of time and money, but will provide a unified base to use your blog to engage supporters in conversations about the challenges you are facing, build relationships with your base, tell your story, and show your gratitude, all with one tool from the comfort of wherever you are. When you enable your potential donors to actually see what you do, or are planning to do, through the use of video, they get a true sense of your mission and why it is so important. They feel that they are included and will want to become involved. Having everything in one place creates the sense of community that people are coming to expect in this new era of web 2.0 fundraising, social networking and sharing. Additionally, utilizing a unified video-sharing/social networking/deadline-driven 2.0 fundraising campaign as an adjunct fundraiser to a primary fundraiser is also a good idea. Having a walk-a-thon? Why not video it and share it with others via the internet to reach even more supporters unable to participate locally and raise even more money and awareness? According to the same article which appeared in the NonProfit Times, “Respondents also gave at events (38 percent), used the Internet to sponsor a friend or family member in a run, walk or ride (17 percent), and responded to a telefundraising call (16 percent), in addition to online giving. “What the online consumer is saying is, ‘I’ll engage with you in a variety of ways, but it has to be easy.’”

We live in a multi-channel world, and nonprofits, along with grassroot fundraisers like schools and athletic teams, have to accept that and make sure that all their channels are working together as efficiently and effectively as possible,” said Druart. “If your Web site isn’t consistent with the other things you are doing, [donors] are going to question whether this is an organization that has it together.

“The survey asked more than 5,000 respondents about their giving plans this holiday season. When asked how often respondents access the Internet, 74 percent said several times a day, 17 percent said once a day, 7 percent said several times a week, 1 percent said once a week and 1 percent said several times a month. Other answer options for amount of online time, including logging on once a month, less than once a month and not going online at all, did not receive any responses.”

So sell your best assets: yourselves and your cause’s story with web 2.0 fundraising via video sharing and social networking on the internet — and see how you can engage your supporters more meaningfully and effectively than ever before.

John F. Maeder is the former assistant director of the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance, a 501 c (3) located in Bristol, Va.-Tn. that promotes the musical and cultural heritage of the Southern Appalachian region.

Confessions of a School Fundraising Blogger

There are times when my experience as an elementary school principal is very relevant and useful. Then there are other times when my role as a father of four young children greatly outweighs (crushes, in fact) my time spent as a school employee. For the duration of this blog post, you will no doubt notice that I am wearing my “dad” hat.

However, I have to preface my comments with a disclaimer. Even though I am professionally employed as a blogger about school fundraising, I still have days (and there are many of them) when I am as frustrated and as overwhelmed by the staggering volume of kid-related fundraisers as anybody. That makes me feel a little guilty, because I’m supposed to be championing the practice of popcorn and cookie dough sales.

As mentioned, I have four children. All of them are in school, ranging from pre-K to fifth grade. So far this year, all four have brought home fundraising packets. The fifth grader was very keen on the Nintendo DS he could win if he only sold something like 300 magazine subscriptions. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I didn’t know 300 people for him to ask. In addition, all four of them are involved in extra-curricular activities that require fundraising (swimming, Cub Scouts, and both girls in cheerleading).

That makes a grand total of eight fundraisers that I’m supposed to participate in. (Not to mention, the pre-school is tuition-based, so I’m paying on that each month!) That is a lot of time and effort required just to get my kids an education and keep them fit. After a long day of work, neither my wife nor I are too fired up to become salesmen.

So, what has happened then, is that we punted. So far, we’ve not raised a single dime for any of their schools. We skipped an auction. We didn’t subscribe to any magazines. We didn’t buy any popcorn. I even didn’t buy a wedding present for my daughter’s pre-school teacher. She’s nice, and I like her, but times are tough. You gotta draw a line somewhere…

Swimming is the only activity we do that mandates fundraising. If we don’t sell $100 of raffle tickets per kid, my son is off the team. It’s a tough policy, but it’s an effective strategy on their part. So, we’ll figure out a way to do that, because swimming is a priority for us.

That’s not to say that school isn’t a priority. But come on, eight fundraisers in the first month of school! I can’t even keep track of the paperwork that comes home. Which packet belongs to which kid?

And so, for at least a while, the schools have lost me. Unless they come up with a different plan to raise money that respects my parental realities, I can not help them. And I’m sad about that.

I’ve read blogs and comments on blogs that are very hostile toward school fundraising. These frustrated parents have made erroneous claims such as “schools should have plenty of money, with all the taxes we pay.” These kinds of statements could not be more ill-informed.

Schools do the best they can with the funds they have available. But, those funds aren’t as available as they were in the past. Therefore, school fundraising is desperately needed if we want our children to experience quality field trips and guest speakers at assemblies, and new playground equipment, for instance.

I will never make the argument against the need for school fundraising. But, I will question school administrators and parent-teacher organizations who don’t think about the burdens that many parents are carrying. If they are so un-creative as to just “throw a fundraiser out there” and hope for the best, then they deserve what they get (Or don’t get, as the case may be.).

Wouldn’t someone, on one of the four different PTOs that serve at my kids’ four schools, realize that there are probably a lot of parents with multiple siblings at different schools? Wouldn’t someone use a of lick common sense to come up with a unified fundraising strategy within the same school system? Doesn’t anyone get the fact that they experience lower participation because they aren’t understanding their target audience?

This lack of thought drives me crazy.

There is definitely a time and a place for product sales. Top School Fundraisers has an excellent professional relationship with eFundraising, and they offer a wide array of high-quality items that can be sold to make legitimate profit for your school. I support what they and other companies are doing 100%. However, if these “tools” are being mis-used by various schools and non-profits, then I think they are more a detriment than a help.

I would suggest that school principals and the heads of all the school groups who fundraise get together and actually plan their fundraising strategy ahead of time, so that the parents aren’t put on the spot, as many are, including myself. I’d like to see a staggered approach to product sales, so elementary, middle, and high schoolers aren’t stumbling all over each other. I’d like to see a greater emphasis put on passive fundraising events and activities that parents can plug into throughout the entire school year, not just for a frenzied two week period in September.

The magazine sales program that eFundraising puts on is an excellent example of a program that works in the right way. It is low-key and flexible for parents, yet it is still profitable.

How to Market Your Cheerleading Fundraiser on a Shoestring Budget

You have your idea for a cheerleading fundraiser, and now you’re stuck. You don’t have a lot of money to market the fundraiser, so you think you don’t have any options. Sound all too familiar?

Well, fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case. You can actually get the word out about your fundraiser, even if you are working on a tight budget. If you follow these simple tips, your cheerleading fundraiser will be a success-whether you are counting your pennies or not.

Blogging For Fundraising Success

First, you need a blog. Blogs are free to create, and a blog will help you greatly as you move toward your fundraiser date. You can use your blog to inform people about the big day and to get them excited. One of the best places to create a free blog is WordPress.com. Then, fill it up with the information you have about the fundraiser (and be sure to keep updating it frequently).

Be sure to include lots of pictures as well. People definitely like to see where their money is going. If they see pictures of the cheerleaders, they will feel as if they are helping real people instead of a faceless entity. This will go a long way in helping you raise money.

Appeal To Your Local Community

After you create the blog, you’ll need some press. The press will help you in two ways. One, you need press to help you market your blog. After all, your blog has some great information about your cheerleading fundraiser, and you need people to see it. In addition, the press will help you market the fundraiser itself.

The question is, though, how are you going to get that press? This is where the local media comes into play. Local newspapers love to cover area events. They will not charge you to run a feature story on your cheerleading team and fundraiser. You will get some great press, and you won’t have to write out a check. Does it get any better than that?

You have to play your cards right, though, and come up with a story that will really interest the public. Get to the heart of your cheerleading program.

• Why is this fundraiser so important?
• Will it give kids a chance they would not normally have?
• Is the team near extinction, and the money is needed to keep it afloat?

You need to find an angle, and then run with it.

Drum Up The Press Machine

Next, you need to approach the local newspaper. Explain why the fundraiser is so important to your cheerleading squad. Again, if you have a good angle, the local paper will graciously offer to run your story. You may have to write the story yourself for the paper (depending on how small of a publication it is), or they may offer to do it for you. Whichever the case, be sure to mention your blog, and let people know they can RSVP for your fundraiser by visiting it.

After you speak to the people at the newspaper, go to the local news stations. Tell them you have an exciting special interest story. Once again, explain the fundraiser, as well as its importance. If you can get a feature on the local evening news, the word will really be out about your fundraiser.

And remember-your cheerleading fundraiser can be a gigantic success, even if you don’t have a huge advertising budget. Grassroots works!

Kathy S Klossner is the SEO webmaster of www.baguscustom.com where you can find more information regarding cheerleading fundraising.

Review of the ABC Fundraising

If you’re searching for a home-based business opportunity, you may be interested in the ABC Fundraising organization. The company was launched in 1993 and it’s been helping people earn a substantial income online for twenty years. Fundraising is a great way for you to make money and help others at the same time. Needless to say, the more money you raise, the more goes into your pocket.

ABC Fundraising provides each member with a free website you can use to send traffic to and collect payments. The website can be integrated into your regular website or blog, or it can function as a stand-alone site. You can also share your site with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and any other social media platform you’re a member of. The company has set it up so that you can send all your Facebook friends the link to your fundraising website.

You can use your online fundraising website to rake in hundreds or thousands of dollars in donations. The best part is it only takes a few minutes to create your website. Your donations are securely transferred to your PayPal account or deposited into your checking account.

Currently there are thousands of groups and individuals just like you using online fundraising to raise an estimated 100 million dollars per month. Fundraising is incredibly lucrative. A recent study found that more than 298 billion dollars was raised in 2011, which is a 4% increase from the previous year. People enjoy giving, and if you live in the United States, you have a better chance of raising the most amount of money.

The majority of donations are made by consumers, not businesses. In fact, consumer donation amounted to more than $217.79 billion last year. That represents 73% of all donations worldwide, so there’s a lot of money waiting for the right people that know how to ask for it.

ABC Fundraising is currently looking for people that are ready to work from home raising money for their school, church or for someone that has an illness that requires a lot of money for an operation. You can raise money for any reason. For example, you can choose to raise money for a marathon or for AIDS research.

This can be an extremely fun job way for someone that enjoys helping others. And since you work from home, you can set your own hours and work as much or as little as you want. Your main responsibility will be to call non-profit organizations and elementary and high schools in your home state. ABC Fundraising will supply you with an unlimited number of leads you can call to request donations.

If you are like most people, you’re tired of your current job and are looking for a way to make an extra income from home. You don’t have to quit your regular job right away, but most people do quit once they begin receiving their payments from ABC Fundraising. You can earn anywhere from $400 to $3000 a month or more. A recent member of ABC Fundraising made $7,200 with just one order from a school district. His commission was based on the sale of 1200 Scratch & Help cards at a commission rate of $6 per card.

Finally, the average commissions paid by ABC Fundraising range from $100 to $400 and are based on the size of the group doing the fundraiser and the actual fundraising product ordered.

Four Tips for Maximising Fundraising Using Online Sites

1. Personalise your message

The best fundraising pages tell a really good story. Let people know why you’re going to the trouble of raising money, and they’re much more likely to take the time to donate. For example, if you want to raise funds for Guide Dogs for the Blind, explain why Guide Dogs deserve support and what their donations will buy. For example, £20 will buy a complete grooming kit for a guide dog or £40 will buy a guide dog harness, handle and lead.

2. Add photos and video

Personal photos make your page much more engaging. You could display photos of your training runs. If you are so inclined you could upload a YouTube video. If you have a video of you making an idiot of yourself there is a good chance that your friends and supporters will forward it on to other people.

3. Contact your local media

A few lines in the local paper or an appeal on your local radio station can really help. By going straight to your online giving page, readers and listeners can sponsor you really easily. I thought I might get a small piece in our local free paper by sending an email. It ended up that the same article appeared in the free paper (The Stowmarket Advertiser), morning paper (East Anglian Daily Times) and evening paper (The Evening Star). It even turned up in the Eastern Daily Press which circulates in Norfolk rather than Suffolk.

4. Publicise your page

Make sure you get the benefit of social networking sites. I must admit that I have not joined the ‘Facebook’ phenomenon, but my wife and each of the kids has. They have promoted my marathon runs on their pages, resulting in donations coming through from people I have not seen for years. Both Just Giving and Virgin Money have Facebook applications that can be put on your Facebook page and on your friends Facebook pages. Make your sponsorship requests viral.

If you have your own website or blog you can put a widget that links back to your online giving page. A widget is like a mini version of your online giving page which you can use to spread the word about your fundraising. For example, the Just Giving widget is made in Just Giving colours and shows how you’re progressing towards your target, with a thermometer that moves. You can put it on your personal website or blog, and ask friends and family to put it on theirs. When someone clicks on it, they’ll go straight to your online giving page where they can make a donation.

Nonprofits Are Earning Millions of Dollars Through Online Fundraising Techniques

Today, nonprofits are earning millions of dollars through their fundraising campaigns. They are taking the help of the latest ways of raising funds over the internet. If you happen to run a nonprofit and is looking for ways to collect quick money, then it’s high time you should start using the following online modes to promote your cause to the maximum number of persons.

Blogs

One of the best techniques of creating awareness about your events and activities is through blogs. Create your own blog in WordPress, Google Blogger, or some other site and write short but interesting posts related to your industry. You can write on anything and everything related to your business, such as about the products and services, their benefits, and basic features. I have created a blog where I usually write about SEO and how it benefits the online business. Nonprofits should use the blog to highlight the importance of organizing and contributing in a fundraiser. Your original posts will definitely attract other bloggers toward your cause and in this way generate more donors.

Social Networking

Social networking has become the latest sensation in the online world. Nowadays, you will hardly find anyone without a Facebook account (currently, the site has over 800 million active users). Utilize Facebook to satisfy your fundraising needs. Open a Facebook account today and start uploading photographs and videos of your past programs. Given, you have a Twitter account; you can write one or two lines about your upcoming concert there as well. Last but not the least, open a LinkedIn account and write a short paragraph in support of your cause.

Email Campaigning

You can start an email campaign by sending beautiful emails to your acquaintances and spread the social message, easily and quickly. Email campaigning is a highly effective online marketing tool that helps you expand your business and gain high ROI.

Online Auctions

Many nonprofits are presently using CharityBids, one of the most advanced auction platform provider in the world, to increase donations and promote their fundraising to the outside world. You too can launch an online auction with set prices and upload banners and imagery. Online auctioning of items is expected to attract more bidders and, in turn, contribute toward raising millions of dollars.

Online Raffles Contest

Nonprofits can arrange an online raffle contest to offer donors a chance to win attractive prizes. It is obviously going to attract large numbers of audiences and, in turn, increase ticket sales and raise funds for your social cause.

Jonathon is a professional event planner. Event professionals worldwide are increasingly relying on automated software to streamline the online event registration, payment management, and attendee relationship management. Acteva is the market leader in providing event registration solutions at competitive price.

16 Powerful Online Fundraising Tools for Raising Money and Awareness

Every nonprofit or social enterprise wants to raise a ton of donations and awareness through viral social media promotion. While there are plenty of tools and platforms out there, it takes bit of time to find the best ones for your campaign.

But raising money and awareness is less about finding the finding the right online tool than it is an effect of putting a compelling and extraordinarily unique story out there. The reach of your online fundraising campaign in social media is determined by the quality of your message. The better story you can tell about your cause and organization, the further it travels.

That said, here are some of best online fundraising sites we’ve discovered for raising awareness and inspiring behavioral change.

1. Chipin.com

This is a widget that you can add to your Facebook page, website, or blog. It’s essentially an online fundraising target that you can use to track a fundraising goal. What we like about this widget is that is it is great for partnerships (if you want, for example, to help out your favorite social cause on your corporate website), as well as an easy way to convert web traffic into donors. Time and cost? No fees. Takes about 15-30 minutes for a web developer (or someone with some basic website skills) to install. Effective? Attached to a specific cause, this widget can be effective. One drawback is that it needs high traffic to covert (for example, per 1000 people that see it, maybe 1 person would donate).

2. HelpAttack.com

Help Attack is a fun, user-centered online fundraising platform that helps “build the act of giving into your online life.” It’s designed to integrate with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and has interactive features such as collecting coins as you progress in your fundraising efforts. Users get to choose the organization or nonprofit they want to support. You can also add your cause or nonprofit so that your supporters can find you. It’s a fun little online fundraising tactic. Time and cost? Minimal set-up. Small fee to add your nonprofit. Effective? This site taps into the power of social networking and makes giving fun. It has raised about $300,000 so far for various charities and organizations.

3. CharityIntelligence.ca

According to a 2007 study on charitable giving by Stats Canada, Canadians donated a total of $10 billion in 2007, which represents an increase of 12% in donations from the $8.9 billion reported in 2004. While philanthropy in Canada has become quite fashionable, the recent rise in charitable giving and activity has also led to a trend toward “philanthropic capitalism”, meaning that donors are coming to expect more professional and business-like conduct from the charitable sector. Charityintelligence.ca is a site that responds to this trend, helping potential donors find the most worthy causes. Its mission is to “identify Canada’s most cost-effective charities through independent in-depth research and objective analysis.” It publishes a list of the charities to donate to, recommending that people donate to these high impact organizations. Cost and Time? Application process takes some time and resources (50-100 hours?); it is designed to look deeply into the operations and budget of a charity. Effectiveness? If successful, this site could generate high returns: inclusion in their annual recommendations for donors; exposure to serious donor networks; and creditability for your organization’s existing communications.

4. Givemeaning.com

Started in Vancouver BC, this site has helped hundreds of non-profits and other worthy organizations raise awareness and funds for their campaigns. The site’s goal is to connect your organization with new donors, acting as a hub for donors to come and find new nonprofits to support. While anyone can submit a project proposal, there are a few conditions: you have to be a Canadian registered charity; you have to submit a proposal that outlines a specific tangible outcome; 9.99 monthly hosting fee, and each new project has 30 days to collect 100 votes of support. Cost and time? 5-8 hours to set up. Effective for raising awareness and funds? Yes. Lots of BC charities have benefited from this site. The set-up is simple and not very time-consuming.

5. CanadaGives.ca

Over the next decade, Statistics Canada predicts that baby boomers will receive considerable wealth and assets from their affluent parents – an estimated $800 billion to $1 trillion of inheritiances.CanadaGives.ca is an organization that helps Canadians get the most out of their charitable donations, including “access to a turnkey administration service for creating or building their own endowment(s) as an alternative to establishing a separate foundation.” In other words, this organization doesn’t solicit any new donors; it just manages existing ones. In their words: “CanadaGives is a “donation vehicle for the committed philanthropist.” Time and cost? No direct fees and a simple sign-up process. Effective? Definitely, especially if you have a history of attracting large donors.

6. Firstgiving.com

3 million online donors, 1 billion in donations raised, and 8,000 non-profits–this site has the ability to do some serious online fundraising for your organization. Time and cost? 5% commission; $300 dollars to use their software and you must be registered with Guidestar. Effective? While this site has a large network and established presence, most likely your success will depend on how much energy and resources put into your pages and energy you invest in encouraging peers to share. Estimated time to see a return-20 to 30 hours.

7. GoBidCharities.com

Have a charity auction coming up? Then make it even more effective with this online fundraising tool. This site allows charities to collect items that are then sold in an online auction. Your auction can run up to 3 months.Time and cost? 15% commission; no registration fee. Requires you to upload pictures, set prices, and collect items to sell (8 hours and upwards). Effectiveness? A nice feature is that you can run online auctions at the same time as a live event (such as a Golf Day or 24 hour marathon), helping to extend the reach of the event online.

8. Yahoo’s Create for a Cause

Yahoo’s Create for a Cause is an annual contest that takes submissions from October 11, going through December 3 (based on last year’s rules). Winners have their ad placed on the Yahoo login page, resulting in massive group exposure. Winners can potentially reach millions of viewers. Last year, it seems that only American non-profits could enter. There doesn’t seem to be a Canadian version. Time and cost? Unfortunately, the competition is stiff. You need to develop a high-quality digital advertisement and past winners have been submissions from international creative agencies-lots of entries, lots of creative competition, and a time-consuming entry process. Effective? If you have a really exceptional campaign, you have a chance at winning exposure to millions of viewers.

9. YouTube Non-Profit Program

Did you know that YouTube has a special channel for raising awareness? On the YouTube Non-Profit Program, charitable organizations and other social marketing and health promotion organizations can post their videos (through their existing channel) and have the option of having a “donate now” button. Time and cost? Setting up is quite simple, maybe a few hours to apply. Effective? With any viral campaign, it’s important to not confuse the medium with the message. YouTube doesn’t make people and videos famous. It’s only a channel that helps to spread incredibly exceptional and amazing content. The best strategy is to test with some smaller videos to see what stories create the most response.

10. KevinBacon6 Degrees of Separation

Started by the actor Kevin Bacon, Sixdegrees.org lets non-profits and worthy organizations to create fundraising badges which are shared on the site. The idea is based on viral fundraising-your cause needs to be shared and picked up by people. Time and cost? Low (a few hours). No fees. Effective? Yes. But don’t expect it to be a major fundraising source. It can integrate well with other tactics such as Facebook.

11. Change.org

Trying to raise awareness for a contentious social issue? Change.org is a platform to raise some serious noise about big issues like Gay rights, labor disputes, and other social-orientated causes. It’s designed with a grassroots theme and has a simple sign-up process. The site allows you to write a petition, upload some photos and info, and then let your cause grow. Time and cost? Just writing a petition and signing up. No fees. Effective? Good place to get some grassroots support and could be effective in driving traffic to your website, if your cause gets some attention from the community.

12. Dosomething.org

Want to get teens involved in your cause? Then Dosomething.org is definitely worth checking out. This site is designed specifically to engage teens with social causes. Any teen can post a project and try to build support for it. They can also form clubs. Time and cost? No financial cost. But requires trying to get teens to set up an account. Effective? The site’s easy integration with Facebook could tap into the large social networks of teens. If your target audience is teenagers, this might be an effective awareness and fundraising platform for you.

13. LinkedIn for Good

If your health organization or non-profit is active on LinkedIn, this is an easy and effective online fundraising tactic. It basically allows LinkedIn users to use “non-profit badges” to promote various organizations through their professional network. As some non-profits and health organizations have large professional networks, you might want to consider adding this to your networking and fundraising mix. Time and cost? A few hours to set up, no cost, and most of the work (and success) depend on the response of people in your network. Effectiveness?This tactic most likely benefits larger National organizations (such as the American Cancer Society), but it is relatively easy to set up.

14. Canadahelps.org

This site allows people to search for their favorite non-profit and to give an online donation. It’s pretty useful during a specific fundraising campaign, especially if you are a smaller organization. Time and cost? Free, easy set-up. Effectiveness? Great alternative to setting up credit-card processing-just register your charity with the site and direct your donations through Canadahelps.org.

15. JustTextGiving.com

Use your fast texting skills…for a good cause. Justtextgiving.com helps fundraisers by tapping into the power of mobile phones. Based in the UK, the platform has raised over 700 million pounds for over 8,000 charities. It only takes a few seconds to set up a page for your charity, and easily integrates with Facebook, email, and iphone apps. Time and cost? Really easy set-up, only a few minutes. The fee is a small monthly charge and a 5% fee on every gift, which is used to pay for web development and hosting. Effective? A great way to integrate your online fundraising with mobiles and smart-phones.

16. GiveForward.com

Giveforward.com helps people easily create a fundraising campaign for friends or a favorite cause. You set up a page, tell people about your cause, promote your page in Facebook and other social media, and then spread the word through friends, websites widgets, and from exposure on the site. While this site is designed for micro-giving campaigns, it can be an effective way to encourage your donors to launch their own little fundraising campaigns on your behalf. Time and cost? Small commission fee and easy set-up. Effective? Giveforward.com has helped raise over 4 million for causes. It’s mostly for micro-campaigns but has an easy set-up.

Some Final Tips:

Remember, most online fundraising tools are similar: they are simply platforms to connect your cause to an audience. As a result, it’s best to concentrate on a few platforms, rather than blasting your message thin across every new widget that comes out. It’s easy to think that the platform will do the work. But the real effectiveness of online fundraising tools depends on the ability of your organization and cause to capture a big emotional space with your stories, videos, and fundraising communications.

Good luck!

For more articles like this, visit our agency’s social marketing blog. We share insights about marketing nonprofits, health promotion, and behavioural change strategies.

You can see the results of our behavioural change workshops on our blog and agency site.

About me

James Mulvey works at Redbird Communications, an advertising agency that specializes in marketing social enterprises, health organizations, and green businesses.

Our clients include the Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon, BC Hydro, an adventure therapy not-for-profit, a tourism advisory council, government ministries, and other private and public-sector organizations that focus in one way or another on healthy people, healthy places.

Easy Fundraising Secrets Revealed For You to Use Now

I bet all of you have been involved, one way or another, with a fundraiser. We all know of good causes, or have our own, that we want to support. Fundraisers are one way to do that.

Here are the main types of fundraisers:

Direct Sales Fundraiser – This is where product is purchased and resold. Payment is usually required up front. You need to deal with inventory, delivery, collection, many details. Direct sales is a high work fundraiser.

Order Taker Fundraiser – Also called pre-sales, brochure sales or catalog sales. You take orders, all order forms are tallied and sent to the fund raising company ships the products to the contact person for your group fund raiser. Your members and volunteers then deliver the products to your supporters. Another high work fundraiser. (Sometimes delivery and collection is done by the company, thus reducing work load.)

Service and bake-sale type fundraisers- this would be your car washes, bakes sales, and so on. High work fundraisers.

On-line Fundraiser – This is generally handled having a coded link on your organizations website that will take the visitor to a personalized page on the company site where you encourage supporters to make purchases through the coded link and your group receives a percentage of the sales.

The on-line fundraiser is far and away the least work, and can be the most effective. One problem is that many smaller groups do not HAVE websites. Say your church youth group is looking to raise money for a mission trip. But you do not HAVE a website, so with many on-line fundraising companies you are stuck with nothing.

However, some new and innovative companies are now working specifically with fundraising groups to make it easy and effective, almost no work on the part of the organization, yet yield great results! They will actually develop and GIVE you a web page to use for your fundraiser. They will help you develop a good sales letter for your page to promote your cause. They will coordinate all sales, delivery, collection, orders. All the organization has to do is publicize their web page. This is done via members sending emails to friends and family, posting on facebook, blogs, twitter, etc. You can also print out hard copy handouts to pass out anywhere (church, school, etc.) This printing and handing out is probably the hardest part of this newer kind of internet fundraising, and that is NOT hard at all, takes but a few minutes. And a minimal expense for the paper and ink is your only cost.

So, you can find a company that already does this kind of thing. You can ASK a company if they will do a fundraiser with/for you. Many major companies already have on-line fundraisers set up. One thing to watch out for is companies that change prices for their fundraisers. I was quite indignant once when I was approached with an on-line fundraiser. I did not normally buy those products but wanted to support the cause so seriously looked at the products (it was food items). Seemed quite high priced. I had looked before at the company (just to buy), and while I thought they were expensive, I did not recall being quite THAT much. SO I compared their fundraiser prices and their regular (expensive) prices. What I found was that on the surface, much seems similar, BUT they changed sizes of items. So instead of a 5 quart pail of premium ice cream, you are getting a gallon (4 quarts). I did some math and figured out that if I bought their items from their site, not via the fundraiser, I would save more money (for the same AMOUNT of food), donate that to the cause, and they would actually get MORE from my purchase than if I had bought at the on-line fundraiser. So beware.

If you want a company to work with you, and they do not have an established fundraiser (or one that you like, that meets YOUR criteria, like not jacking prices), you can try to see if they will accommodate you. This will work best by far with smaller companies. Talk with the owner/manager. What you want is a page on their web that you can direct potential donors to, with information about your organization and cause for fundraising. You want them to handle all inquiries, orders, collection, sales, and delivery. You want a percentage of sales for bringing them the business. Ideally they will also provide you with copy/wording that you can use in emails, blog posts, Twitter, Facebook and more. You need to find a product/service that appeals to many people, thus expanding your pool of potential donors.

Interview With Sally Castle, Fundraising and Marketing Manager For the Centenary Institute

Tell me about the Centenary Institute
The Centenary Institute is 200 people doing basic medical research into cancer, cardiovascular and infectious diseases.

How long have you been doing it?
Centenary’s been around for 25 years. Our name, an odd name, actually refers to the centenary of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, and the Sydney University Medical Faculty.

How long have you been in your position here?
I’ve been here for 2.5 years.

OK, what got you in here?
My friend rang me (laughs), and said “I’ve got a great job you should go to!”. We had a change of leadership, and our new director was previously the chair of an industry body that a friend of mine was involved with. And he asked her about people around the industry, and they headhunted me in.

So your verbal CV. What brought you to the point that you could get this job?
Sure, OK, so my CV. I went to university and did a bachelor of Business with a double major in international trade and marketing. And I went in India to investigate the free world, and all that sort of stuff. But somewhere along the way I decided I wanted to go into events, opened the paper and the only events job in the paper that week was with the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Applied for it, got it. I spent two years running their massive outdoor events, ‘Sydney to the Gong’, that sort of thing. Then I went to another charity, set up a foundation, went to London, traveled the world, did some PR over there. Came back, and I’ve really been in charity fundraising roles ever since.

Out of all the things you’ve done, the Gong Ride, the events, what’s been good about each single position you’ve had? What have you gotten out of each of your positions?
So I guess the great thing about the fundraising sector for me when I was starting out, was the intensity with which the diversity of the roles, and the incredible responsibility I guess, access I got at an early age. So three months into my career, I was managing a finish line with 10,000 cyclists, 50 teams, 10 corporate sponsors and 8 bands, and I was the only staff member on site for the day. So, that’s a pretty remarkable opportunity for someone who is very young and fresh out of uni. That doesn’t happen very often. Then my next role, the role was built around me which again I was very fortunate. And that was very much a start-up. And again, I was working with everything from world-famous musicians, to homeless kids, setting up innovative new programs, all sorts of things like that. That was really exciting, plus I guess, the obvious part, its an incredible industry, you get to go home at night and the world is a slightly better place as a result of you working.

London was just brilliant. I did London fabulous PR, traveling the country, talking to the CEOs of some really interesting companies, doing some great corporate social responsibility stuff, so that gave me huge access in the UK. Talked to some of the top publications. I went and worked with a small international NGO+, that was interesting. That was my second small one, when I was in charge and really building things. I realised I loved it and had a real aptitude for that. Great, I got to take some people over on an East Timor study tour and, you know, a little bit of international travel there. Then I was at the Heart Foundation, set up the ‘Doorknock Appeal’ for their national fundraising team. Fascinating again, huge challenge, $4 million budgets, really exciting national role. Then here, it was really a chance to sit on the executive of the company. Start from scratch really. I had 800 donors, now we got 5500, and the Board has just approved a plan to get to $4 million a year from the half a million they were raising when I got here. It’s really exciting.

Where does Centenary concentrate on getting their money from?
Sure, so we, so I guess there’s two things. Medical research is by and large funded by what they call “peer reviewed funding” which comes from government sources, and people like the Heart Foundation or Cancer Council have a competitive grants program. But for every dollar we get in those competitive research grants, we need to raise another seventy cents. But historically, that was pretty much picked up by the State Government. But, State Government funding has quite significantly declined, the infrastructure in NSW, hence the Foundation. So …

Is that a NSW thing? Or Australia
It is, its State Government infrastructure.

Right, OK
So, it’s very different state by state. So we’re doing lobbying and in the industry body, and getting people looking into those sorts of issues. But the area I really run is the Foundation. So that is, we look at, income from individuals, be they incredibly wealthy individuals to what we call ‘Joe Bloggs Doner’, so $10, $20 donors, we’ve been in the position to get a lot of those. We have a couple of events that are run through our foundation, which is a sub-committee of our Board. Then we also have some corporates, trusts and foundation. But it’s evolving.

So out of the number of different avenues you can get funding from, the Joe Bloggs, State Government, which one brings you the greatest success?
So I guess for our organisation, the biggest success is with peer-reviewed funding. But that’s an industry-wide thing. I guess, for people reading the blog, who are the fundraisers like me, that’s not our area, ours is more the foundation/ fundraising that I was touching on. So, all of the growth and benchmarking, world industry reports, is that growth comes from individuals that are diversified….a holistic individual fundraising approach is the most sustainable and potentially profitable, and particularly the growth model is the best place to invest.

Have you noticed many other State Governments and how they …?
No, I don’t actually work at that level in the organisation, and I haven’t got the comparative figures about State Government funding around the country.

What do you mean by ‘holistic’?
So, holistic is, there’s this fabulous concept called the ‘Donor Life Cycle’ where you pull someone in as a cash-giver, so someone gives you $20, you write them a letter saying “would you give me $20” “yeah sure, here’s $20” (laughs) and then you can leave it at that, right. And you keep writing to them asking for $20. Or you can think about it, the ‘Donor Life Cycle’ might bring them in as a cash donor, then you might look to upgrade them to their maximum cash gift, which for some people might stream them into becoming more, what you might determine as a ‘Major Donor’ . So at Centenary we might call those people who give us over $1000 a ‘Single Gift’ or you might ask them to become ‘Monthly Givers’, so they give to you every month instead of three or four times a year when you write to them. Then you make sure you maximise their gift, and also looking at their networks to make sure you’re activating their networks as well, and ultimately, encouraging them to leave bequests to your organisation.

What networks do they have? I guess you’ve looked at the networks they all have … professional, personal?
‘Network Fundraising’ is very much at the ‘Major Donor’ level, so that’s looking at things like having functions and talking to your key donors and saying “do you know anybody else? Does your company get involved in philanthropy? Is there a way you can support us through your company?”. Doesn’t work for the smaller donor values, but definitely high value its peer to peer fundraising very much.

How has the Financial Crisis, however they choose to call it, how has Centenary been in this financial crisis?
Yeah, I guess, the good thing and the bad thing ..

Ah yeah, good …
(laughs) Centenary doesn’t have a lot of corporate sponsors and it’s in the loss of corporate revenue that most of the charities have suffered the most. So we didn’t have a lot to lose. In a way that’s a good thing, so we weren’t exposed

Was that a deliberate thing?
Well we didn’t focus on it. I haven’t focused on it. It’s not, for a small emerging organisation like ours without a huge brand profile, we don’t have a lot to offer a corporate operation. So we’re more interested in building our Donor profile, all that sort of thing. And then using corporates as an incidental, so for examples, someone comes up through the Boards networks, we’ll see that opportunity.

You say Brand, who would have Brand?
Just close your eyes and think of ‘charity’. Say the word ‘charity’, and who comes to mind. That’s branding.

I guess …
I doubt Centenary would.

How about the networks of Centenary, do you have other bodies that you collaborate with in this arena or rely on, or do you work on your own? You need advice, or you need to get through a problem …?
Are you talking about fundraising or research?

Well, fundraising
OK, so research is incredibly collaborative, we have 65 different collaborations around Australia and the world from individual projects, so definitely at the research level. From a fundraising point of view, absolutely it’s vital in a small organisation that you maintain your networks. I have friends former colleagues, some fabulous suppliers, some fabulous email news things, fundraising philanthropy magazine is invaluable. I’m constantly checking with the external environment , and catching up on trends and reading the best books. There’s some great international commentators.

How much time of your day do you spend doing research?
OK, well, ideally, I would spend two to three hours a week catching up with industry trends, what is happening on average. That might mean I go out for a training day, and I don’t do anything for a couple of weeks. I try and devote two to three hours a week, and I get my staff to do that as well.

So the state of fundraising and funding overall for the whole medical community. There was an article in the Australian Financial Review (Boss Magazine) talking about networks and how businesspeople are actually going to Boards and using Boards as a way to network amongst themselves. And the people who are involved, on private Company Boards become part of Non-Profit Boards, and bring their expertise. And they said that, near the end of the article, that Arts Boards are losing that type of talent, but medical research Boards are getting a lot of talent, there’s a move towards them. Have you noticed this?
I can’t comment on what happens in the arts community …

No medical …
I’m not privy to all the Boards of all the medical research institutes around, can’t really comment on that. I think sometimes commentators like to pretend there’s a story. But I know, that Centenary, we’ve been incredibly fortunate to have a remarkable Board, and a remarkable fundraising and marketing committee, and we certainly have been really fortunate in attracting great talent to that.

Through the medical community, has there been more support coming through for, fundraising wise
OK, well you see a Board is very different to a fundraising thing, so a Board is around the governance of the organisation. What I do is, I’m not a part of that, but not in my fundraising role, executive of the company. I go to Board meetings.

Funding for medical research as a whole, across the industry, has there been more funding coming in recently? Has there been a change?
OK, at a government level, it’s stable. At a philanthropic level, honestly, people like to draw these conclusions that one sector is easier to fundraise for that the other, or you know, Arts is in vogue at the moment.

People do think that way, or …
No I said, commentators like to think that happens. I think the reality is that, a professional and responsibly approach from an organisation that actually follows through and says, and is doing something reputable and valuable in the eyes of the community, whether that be fluffy puppies, art or cancer research, you get money for that, and if you ask properly and do it right, I think that all the evidence would suggest that it’s not the trend/ industry-type speciality you’re in that impacts your funding, it’s whether or not you are a good fundraiser, and your organisation is actually doing what it says it does.

On the previous question, where does the bulk of work that results comes from, from you or community interest to fund bodies like this? Is the result a lot to do with your teamwork, or other factors?
Which organisations are you referring to?

30 Amazing Ideas for Creative Fundraising On and Offline

Fundraising is often the most painful part of managing a nonprofit, a large amount of time can be wasted when we’re blocked for ideas. If you’re looking to jump-start your brain, look no further! Here are 30 fantastic and fun ideas to get your creative juices flowing, and many of them are ideas you can test drive right away!

1. Sell raffle tickets alongside your direct donations, raffling off donated tickets to events or your next gala.

2. Contact your donor email list and ask them to do a Birthday Pledge for you – rather than accepting gifts, they can ask their friends to contribute to your organization. Facebook actually has a service that can help your supporters set up this type of fundraiser.

3. Micro-fund specific projects rather than seeking grants. Use venues like Kickstarter, GoFundMe and others to raise enough money to do small but important programs. For example, if you want to take your special needs kids on a trip, set up a specific fundraising page for just those expenses.

4. Do a short but powerful fundraising campaign via Twitter by using the Thunderclap.it application. Choose a specific date, invite your supporters to tweet your cause, and set up a page to direct your visitors to spread awareness and donate.

5. Coordinate with a local food truck business to add-on your bake sale items for a week or so. Bake cupcakes, attach thank-you notes to the wrappers.

6. Hold a yard sale and cookout of your friends and supports with a donation bucket.

7. Invite your favorite local bands or indie musicians to play a fundraiser for your cause and help them publicize it.

8. Create a merchandize store at Zazzle.com or Cafepress, and make some cool mugs, t-shirts, and other stuff. Make sure to promote these items in your email communications, on social media, and on your website.

9. Hold a writing contest related to your cause, and charge a small writing fee. Take the best entries and create a Kindle ebook or CreateSpace’s paper book platform. You’ll also have a publication to sell year-round.

10. Create hand-made greeting cards and sell them under your organizations’ name as a fundraiser via Etsy.

12. Reach out to businesses that support you and ask them to hold an office fundraiser for your cause. Have them divide up the department under fundraising teams.

13. Next time your local shopping complex announces a sidewalk sale, ask them if your organization can set up a bake sale or lemonade stand alongside them.

14. Ask a local vineyard or wine store to sponsor a wine testing at your headquarters. Hand out buttons and brochures and ask for token donations. Make sure to do a “last call” for donations while your donors are feeling warm and giddy.

15. Ask local businesses to put out jars to collect for donations to your cause. Make sure the jars are in plain view and that your label is easy to read.

16. Approach a local high school and ask them to have their student leaders coordinate a fundraiser on your behalf. Take a half hour to teach them about your organization and how it helps the community.

17. Host a movie night, make it wild, fun and clever with monthly themes. You can even start a monthly club, and ask your regulars to donate every time they hang out. Movies for _____ can be the name of the event!

18. Set up auctions on eBay and ask your favorite donors to donate their very best stuff. Make sure that you specify that 100% of the proceeds will go to your charity or nonprofit.

19. Reach out to your favorite local or niche blogs and ask them to highlight your work and do a month-long fundraiser. You’ll help your bloggers build goodwill, and they’ll help you meet your fundraising goals. Win-win!

20. Join Justcoz.org and send out awareness tweets through your support base, but keep your donation requests to just once a week or so. Justcoz is a great platform to send messages about the importance of your cause. Make sure to direct users directly to your payment page.

21. Do you have a celebrity in the mix of donors or supporters? Ask around, and ask them to set up a WePay campaign – they’ll control the details, you’ll help them out with a press release and other promotional materials.

22. Approach independent radio show operators online and record a PSA for them to play, directing them to your website for more information and donations. BlogTalkRadio.com is a great place to start. Many independent radio hosts have a passion for fundraising, don’t be afraid to ask them for help or ideas!

23. Have a birthday party for your nonprofit. Celebrate proudly by creating a digital scrapbook full of memories from past events, and hold a semi-formal party for your long-term donors.

24. Create a coupon book by partnering with small and local businesses. Sell it on eBay and Etsy to tourists and locals, let them know the proceeds go to 100% to your nonprofit and help change the world!

25. Host a one-day potluck event at your local community center, or school focusing on education and outreach to the community. Get people to donate their baked goods and desserts for take-home treats.

26. Help promote fitness and healthy eating by arranging to set up a smoothie stand outside your local gym or running track, and specify that 100% of the proceeds go directly to your charity.

27. Recruit college dorms, fraternities and sororities to collect and turn in recycled bottles and donate the money to your cause.

28. Host an online “rally” at Rally.org, and set up a coordinated online campaign with some pretty cool bells and whistles.

29. Attach a fundraising prompt to your petitions and calls to action by using Change.org

30. Partner with your local music festival! Every region has one of these, whether it’s jazz and blues or indie folk singers. Ask them to offer VIP status such as a access to the snack table or a backstage pass for people who donate $50 to your charity.