In the non-profit sector's never ending search for better fundraising ideas, online fundraising has entered into the spotlight. Websites are popping up which are designed to make fundraising easier, allowing people to make electronic transactions to individals and organisations. As part of this surge of online fundraising sites is the new "crowdfunding" phenomena
In the non-profit sector's never ending search for better fundraising ideas, online fundraising has entered into the spotlight. Websites are popping up which are designed to make fundraising easier, allowing people to make electronic transactions to individals and organisations. As part of this surge of online fundraising sites is the new "crowdfunding" phenomena.
Crowdfunding is part of the "crowdsourcing" movement happening across the Internet. Wikipedia (which is also a crowdsourced site) describes crowdsourcing as:
...the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or, to an undefined, large group of people or community (a "crowd"), through an open call.
Crowdsourcing online has been used in varying capacities, from Foldit's scientific research game, to Star Wars Uncut recreating a whole movie in 15 second snippets. Crowdsourcing is a great example of how the Internet can be used to harness the capabilities of people across the world to support a project or a cause.
Crowdfunding as an online fundraising method works by offering "the crowd" the ability to contribute financially to your project or cause. While this is very similar to what charities have been doing for years, its online expression is quite unique. Social media and online communities have opened up ways for information to be spread much more rapidly and to be made a lot more personal. In many cases, crowdfunding is just as much about the person as it is about the cause. Carlo from Living Philanthropic has dedicated one year to giving to 365 different charities. While (at the time of writing) has personally donated almost $4,000 he has used charity fundraising site Crowdrise to raise over $11500 to support for what he is doing.
On the Australian front, crowdfunding site Pozible is a good example of the possibilities of crowdsourced funds. Creatives can set up their own page, where people can visit and donate money. They will be able to see the target amount, how many people have donated, and receive awards for signifcant donations as set out by the owner (for example, a musician trying to raise money for a recording might offer a free CD to everyone who donates over $50).
Charity fundraising sites such as Everday Hero and GoFundraise allow charities to register on their sites. Individuals can then create their own easy fundraising page to support their cause. This allows people to give a personal face to the event or cause, and also allows them to share their own page with their own networks (think social media, online communities, etc.). What this means for you is that your charity then has a fundraising cluster of personalised websites all advocating and providing funds for your non profit or charity.
Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding are fantastic ways to not only use the Internet to raise money, but also to engage a wider audience. We'd also love to hear your stories of how you've used online technology to advocate and raise money for your organisation.
Image thanks to Michael Dornbierer on Flickr