The Fundly community is full of everyday people doing incredible things. Each week, we see great campaigns that grab our attention and touch our hearts. Here’s what stood out this week:
Maggie is raising money to help a school in India continue educating 200 kids per year. For the Bhatti Mines kids, education makes immediate impact as an alternative to child labor.
The Epsilon Phi chapter of the Kappa Alpha Theta is raising money in honor of their sorority sister Kathleen, who was disgnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The money raised will go towards cancer research and treatment.
This year the Haight Ashbury Merchants Association is inviting the community to help them light up the trees on Haight Street.
Need to raise money? Try it and you could be featured in next week’s campaign spotlight.
In this exclusive Interview, Devin Thorpe speaks with Fundly CEO, David Boyce about fundraising through Fundly.
With back to school upon us, we thought it would be a great idea to take some of the scrambling off your hands! What better way for us to help then by helping you raise money for your school using Fundly.
Your child doesn’t have to go door-to-door selling wrapping paper, cookie dough, magazines or popcorn any more! Online fundraising is a great way to raise funds for your school’s needs, such as busses for field trips, bringing the arts to your school, classroom supplies, beginning of the year parties, etc.
Don’t need to raise money? The Fundly community is full of amazing people raising money for incredible things. Check out some educational campaigns, where you can show your support.
International Youth Day (IYD) is means to raise awareness of issues affecting young people around the world. IYD was established by the United Nation (UN) 13 years ago and has since been celebrated on August 12th every year.
There is a different theme each year based on the issues important to young people. This year’s theme is Youth Migration: Moving Development Forward.
Make yourself heard and take action. Fundly has launched many successful campaigns around international, youth, education, etc. We can help you start raising money in minutes for #IYD or anything else.
Many of the big nonprofits and charities across the country have been in operation for a long time, establishing a strong reputation and slowly gaining supporters. But even the most well-known organizations had to start somewhere, typically as a small group fighting for a cause. Today, social media platforms allow big and small groups alike to make a difference to reach more people with minimal investment. Social platforms enable fast dissemination of information to drive donations and awareness.
Class Supports Peer: One such cause that has launched a campaign on Fundly.com is run by a group of classmates who attended high school with someone who was diagnosed with a left frontal brain tumor. As the young man continues to battle cancer through hospital visits, rehabilitation days and chemotherapy, the medical bills continue to rise. To help the patient pay for these costs, his high school class of 2001 peers are raising awareness and money to support his cause. Because the cause is being run by a few individuals and targeting a relatively small population, the social platform is ideal for easy sharing of information at little cost.
Community Supports Family: Similar to the campaign being run by high school classmates, a small community launched a Fundly.com account to help support a family afflicted by cancer. The husband and father, Joe, recently passed away, leaving behind a wife and son and a mountain of medical bills. The community is joining forces online to raise awareness of the husband’s passing and how small donations can make a big difference in the family’s life. The goal of the campaign is to not only raise money for the wife and son, but also encourage friends to reach out and offer condolences and support for the grieving family.
Wrangling Funds: Because medical bills can be so costly, many groups will turn to social platforms to raise money for specific needs to alleviate the financial burden on loved ones. While friends and family cannot help support a family through an entire illness, small contributions made online can be pooled together to make a dent in what may seem like an endless pile of bills. One such group is helping a wife and mother pay for a kidney transplant. The Fundly.com page explains that the woman’s sister is able to donate her kidney, but the cost of the procedure is beyond the family’s means. With minimal donations from people in the community, the family will be able to save a life and keep moving forward.
Keeping It Together: Just as medical bills can severely hinder a family’s ability to grow and prosper together, so too can issues with immigration and residency. One cause on Fundly.com is working to keep a small family together in the face of immigration reform. The husband and father of a family is at risk of being deported to Canada, with the potential of being banned from the United States. His wife and daughter, however, are U.S. citizens and would be without him if he is unable to complete the naturalization process. The social campaign aims to raise $3,500 to pay for his ban waiver, green card and legal fees to ensure he can stay in America and be with his family.
The Small Things: In light of the current economic downturn, many families are realizing the importance of even the smallest necessities that allow each member to function and thrive daily. When a mother of a 4-year-old recently crashed into a tree after her car’s brakes failed, injuring her husband, the family was left with a totaled car, insufficient insurance payouts and significant medical bills. Without a car, the family cannot support themselves, and thus a social campaign was launched to pool resources to get a car for them. Because it is a one-time campaign, the social platform is ideal to raise awareness quickly without costing the family even more money when seeking donations.
Project Support: Another way social fundraising efforts can help small causes is by providing financial means for business ventures. In the age of the internet, small companies can be launched quickly, centered on a website with minimal overhead. As a result, many entrepreneurs require small investments to start a new project, and social fundraising sites can help raise this money. One man who is afflicted by Crohn’s disease is looking to start a dating website to connect single people with similar conditions to one another. The website will not only build a strong community to support each other, but also send a portion of the proceeds to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.
One Small Voice: Just as social platforms are being used by communities to help support an individual or family, these platforms can also be used by one person to support a larger group. One person was recently moved by the services offered at the Daniel’s Music Foundation, which supports music education and performances for young students. After enjoying some performances, the individual is looking to help the foundation expand its operations by donating a room in its new location in New York City. The individual has experienced first-hand the potential of the foundation and what it can do for many young performers. He wants to ensure those services are available to more children, and hopes the social platform will connect the cause with like-minded donors.
Many student organizations or charities are going social, finding creative ways to raise money and awareness for their causes. Because the groups want to improve education and opportunities for youth, they are turning to modern technology and digital communications to spread the word and incite interest across the nation.
Bringing in students from abroad: One such student group is known as Jusoor, or Bridges, which is a network Syrians and supporters looking to enhance educational opportunities through development projects. The organization has established a membership program for students in Syria who want to come to the United States to study. The initiative has garnered 46 grants for emergency tuition to support participating students who cannot pay for the education. Most of the students in Syria who join the network are already enrolled in a university and are coming to the United States for diversity and cultural experiences.
The Illinois Institute of Technology is working with Jusoor and providing partial scholarships for 50 Syrian students totaling $1.2 million. The organization is hoping through the use of social media it can reach out to other educational organizations and student groups to raise funds and awareness.
Authors boost fundraising efforts: One student at Kent State University felt inspired to do her part to help those affected by the tsunami in Japan, turning to Twitter to gather information and create awareness. Famed author of the book “Fifty Shades of Grey,” E.L. James, saw what Alexandria Rhodes was doing and wanted to help her reach her goal of $5,000. In just three months, the social media fundraising campaign generated $70,000 in donations toward tsunami relief. With the addition of James’ support, Rhodes and her friends were able to collect donations from other students as well as 218 authors. The organization used Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms to reach out to famous and not-so-famous donors to surpass their goal.
Retreat calls for funding: A religious group in Saraland, Alabama, is also using social media and Fundly.com to raise funds for student opportunities. The student ministry of Pentecostals of Saraland has an annual youth retreat for local teens that aims to guide young adults through challenging years while providing support through the organization. The nonprofit religious organization has launched a social media fundraising campaign to spread the word to local teens who may want to participate as well as community members interested in supporting the cause.
Running for learning: Many marathon runners select a cause they wish to run for, and then fundraise to meet a certain goal before partaking in the event. One athlete looking to run in the Columbus Marathon in Ohio has selected the Robinson Community Learning Center as her cause, encouraging friends, family and community members to give what they can toward the center.
The runner holds a special place in her heart for the Robinson Community Learning Center in South Bend, Indiana, as she used to work there and help run after school programs, field trips, counseling and tutoring activities. Seeing what a difference the center can make in a student’s life first-hand encouraged the runner to support the organization after leaving her position.
Investing in awareness: A group at Virginia Tech known as PRISM (Pampling ReInventing Social Media) was first started by the Pamplin College of Business, which was looking to reshape its image. The organization decided to invest time and energy into creating a social media presence to improve personal communications with students and the community. PRISM aims to leverage social media channels to interact with the student body to achieve fundraising and awareness goals. The end result is a self-made media organization that provides a communication network within a college community that works toward agreed upon initiatives and projects. The group has teamed up with several nonprofit organizations such as Relay For Life, encouraging students to get involved and help make a difference.
As social media fundraising continues to develop, new reports are emerging to show some of the ways in which non-profit organizations are using the platforms to their benefit. Meanwhile, individuals and groups are hard at work raising money for good causes and events through a variety of online channels. Here’s a roundup of the week’s news in online and social fundraising.
The power of social media
Social Charity Index – Researchers in Great Britain recently released the results of the second annual Social Charity Index, which looks at the top 100 non-profits in the country to determine how they are using social media for fundraising and whether their approaches are effective, according to The Guardian newspaper. This year’s report found that charities with a smaller network of more engaged supporters tend to be more effective at raising funds through social media than some of the larger groups with hundreds of thousands of followers. Regardless of the amount of followers, however, organizations that engage with their supporters to get them involved in a cause find the most success.
Sioux Falls State Theater – Recently, the Sioux Falls State Theater in South Dakota embarked on a social media fundraising experiment to see how effective so-called “money-bomb” fundraising can be. The historic movie theater will spend 24 hours bombarding its Facebook fans with appeals for donations of just $5. The theater’s owners are hoping the campaign not only raises money to help renovate and reopen the theater, but creates an online audience even before any tickets are sold, according to local CBS affiliate KELO.
’8 for 80′ – Supporters of Colorado’s Proposition 80 recently embarked on a similar social media “money-bomb” campaign in support of their cause. According to The Weed Blog, Vote80.org recently held a 36-hour campaign to raise $8,000 to support the proposition, which calls for the legalization of marijuana in the state. The proposition recently received the endorsement of former Colorado Secretary of State Bill Bradbury.
4Brant – Recently, Brant Dye alerted his old high school buddies that he wouldn’t be able to attend their reunion because his testicular cancer had come out of remission and metastasized into his lungs. In response, his former classmates started a Fundly.com campaign to raise $620,000 to help with his treatment. According to the campaign, Brant’s friends chose Fundly for its good user experience and secure processing, and hope friends and family will share the campaign on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Funding the hearts and funding the arts
Have a Heart for Myles – With a few days left to go, the owners of Myles the dog, who was diagnosed with a rare heart condition that requires surgery, announced they had reached their $2,500 Fundly.com goal to fully fund the procedure. The rescue dog was diagnosed with Patent Ductus Arterosis, which can increase blood flow through part of the heart, causing it to work significantly harder. The procedure will limit blood flow, permanently fixing the condition.
Dance to the Beat – The Eau Claire School of Dance in Wisconsin held its first ever charity event on September 29, according to the Leader-Telegram. The “Dance to the Beat” fundraiser was a four-hour dance-a-thon to raise money for the American Heart Association. Teams of dancers collected pledges from family and friends for each hour of dancing.
Youth Orchestra of Bucks County – In an effort to give the children of the Youth Orchestra of Bucks County an opportunity to learn from renowned violinist Mark O’Connor and play alongside him in a professional concert hall, the YOBC recently turned to Fundly.com to raise $16,000. If successful, the group will perform at the War Memorial in Trenton, New Jersey.
The federal government ruled recently on whether small business startups can use crowdfunding as a method for raising capital, while individuals and organizations across the globe continue to use social fundraising to meet their needs. Here’s a roundup of the week’s fundraising news:
The SEC Rules!
Securities and Exchange Commission – Following the direction of President Obama, who included a provision calling for business crowdfunding in the recently passed JOBS Act, the Securities and Exchange Commission decided recently to establish a set of rules that will allow ordinary investors to work with emerging enterprises to create businesses and jobs, according to Forbes. While a lot of the details are still emerging – the SEC hasn’t yet ruled on full-blown business funding and the deadline isn’t until December 31, Forbes said – it is likely the new guidelines will change the nature of crowdfunding portals entirely.
Fundly in the news
Michelle Shutzer – When Michelle Shutzer decided to try a naturopathic approach to her cancer treatments, she found the therapies were not covered by her insurance. Though she was reluctant to ask for help, a friend convinced her to start a Fundly.com campaign to raise money for her treatment. The campaign, which was featured recently on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle, is fast approaching its $20,000 goal.
IIT-Jusoor Scholarships – Jusoor, which means “Bridges” in Syrian, is an organization that focuses on helping Syrians through education and other initiatives. Recently, the group partnered with the Illinois Institute of Technology to kick off a Fundly.com fundraising campaign with the goal of helping 50 Syrians travel to the United States to earn their undergraduate degrees. The campaign concludes at the end of September.
A.S.I.A. – The A.S.I.A. organization recently started a Fundly.com project it hopes will help raise money to sponsor two high school students for an Annual College Preparatory Educational Program and Black College Tour. The goal of the program is to help high school juniors and seniors visit historically black colleges and learn about some of the educational opportunities available to them. The tour will pass through Howard University, Coppin State, Morgan State and Bowie State before returning to Buffalo, New York.
Happiness is a warm bun
Hungry 4 Happiness – A new fundraising campaign from Project Happiness will use social media outreach and blogger calls-to-action to spread the word about a series of dinner parties being hosted as part of the “Hungry 4 Happiness” initiative. According to News-Medical.net, participants in the campaign will be encouraged to post pictures of their dinner on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which will enter them in a competition to win a two-month supply of coconut water from one of the project’s sponsors. All proceeds go to provide school supplies around the world.
Stop and smell the (virtual) roses
Flowers of Thanks – Across the ocean in England, the Meningitis Trust has created a new fundraising campaign it says is designed specifically to be shared online. The virtual “Flowers of Thanks” garden is a website where people can make a donation and plant a flower in memory of a loved one who was affected by the disease. The site accepts donations of £10 or more, and allows people to share their stories with others.
The Amazing Raise – A non-profit group in Richmond, Virginia, exceeded all expectations when it broke a fundraising record within eight hours of launching the 36-hour “Amazing Raise” campaign, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The state’s governor even remarked on the accomplishment via Twitter, noting that, “Folks are revved up and we love it!” Proceeds were disbursed among a variety of area groups.
Online fundraising can seem overwhelming and is often times left unattended to when nonprofits are accustomed to traditional fundraisers. You know that it is free. You know that millions of people are on Facebook. You probably also know that neglecting this form of development is costing your organization money. But let’s face it: who has the time or patience to create a schedule for incorporating online fundraising into your weekly routine? It may take less time than you think! Here are some ways to start using the internet and social networking sites in your strategies to raise money.
Make a Weekly Calendar – One of the best ways to organize your life and create consistency is to make a weekly calendar of how you want to schedule your duties. This also helps to ensure that everything on your “To Do” list gets done and that the important things don’t fall through the cracks. Here is a sample schedule you may want to start with for your online fundraising strategy:
Monday – Post on Twitter and Facebook at lunch time.
Tuesday – Post a blog and let your followers know via a link on Twitter and Facebook.
Wednesday – Update your followers on what major activity or goal your organization is working on. Post it around 5:00 pm. Scan your Facebook homepage for comments that supporters have written concerning your posts and reply to let your supporters know you’re involved and listening.
Thursday – Visit your nonprofit leader groups on LinkedIn for new ideas, advice, or ask a question to the forum.
Friday – Find an interesting quote, picture of your cause, or statistic to post on your social networking sites. Post it around lunch time.
Now this is not set in stone or a comprehensive calendar by any means, but it’s a starting point to get you in the habit of taking a few minutes every day to engage your donors and supporters through social networks. I also included a loose time frame, taking into account that the most successful posts are read before work, at lunchtime, right after work, and in the late evening when the kids are in bed.
Who Should Post on Facebook? – My social network includes variety of nonprofit organizations on Facebook and I’ve been noticing that some are posting on behalf of the nonprofit while others have their front man or woman posting the comments personally. Overall, I think it depends on the type of organization you are running. One of my friends is a motivational speaker and he posts comments on his personal life as well as where he is speaking and his success stories. On the other hand, another nonprofit I follow pertaining to disaster relief and food distribution writes solely under the name of their nonprofit. I think that it would also be wise to write on behalf of both the CEO and have a separate account for the organization; the CEO could certainly write from his or her perspective about where the company is headed while the umbrella account could post on upcoming events, general links on press coverage, and asking for donations for upcoming projects. Consider incorporating both into your social media routine. Supporters often times like to know that there is a face behind an organization, rather than giving blindly.
Do You Donors Know You’re There? – More than likely, your donors aren’t going to seek out your social networking profiles or may have visited your page and bypassed hitting the “like” button… so, ask whenever you can! On every newsletter, direct mail letter, event program, concert program, t-shirt, pamphlet, and webpage write “Like us on Facebook” or “Follow us on Twitter”. There’ a reason why so many products include it in their advertisements; over 250 million Facebook users log in EVERYDAY! When your name appears on their home page, they will remember you the next time they get that bonus at work, need to donate that used car, or want to get involved in a philanthropic organization. They also share updates and activities (such as “liking” your page) with their friends, which averages about 130 people per account. That’s a lot of people you could be reaching if they knew that they should follow you on Facebook!
Being a mom and an active member in my church means that, in one way or another, I’m always involved with fundraising or trying to get others to participate in different projects and activities. Add to the mix that I work with various nonprofits and write for an online fundraising company, and much of my time is consumed with figuring out the best practices to reach people and to create a successful atmosphere for giving. Here are some newer ideas that I have come across, which combine the convenience of online resources with the needs of school and church fundraising.
1) Evite.com: cool and practical. For holidays and friend’s birthday parties I’ve received several invitations from Evite.com, but it can also be extremely useful for clubs, banquets, and other informal events. The best part: it shows who is coming and encourages others to join in the fun. This could be great for a classroom party so you can see who is bringing what and which families are participating. RSVP tracking also allows you to gauge the amount of supplies you’ll need.
Now, I wouldn’t use this for events where people don’t know each other (that’s why this works well for schools, churches, and clubs with established communities) and it would be casual for expensive or formal events. However, it’s free, easy-to-use, and allows a platform for comments to get people excited about your event.
2) Pinterest: the best thing to happen to crafters since Martha Stewart. Yep, it’s time to start planning for those holiday craft fairs, bake sales, and boutiques! What better way to inspire parents and church ladies to get out those glue guns than sharing some amazing ideas from one of the largest growing social networking forums? Search for fun ornament ideas, recipes for baking delicious cookies, and examples of lovely table décor.
Word of Advice: If you haven’t planned your calendar for holiday events, do it now! November and December are the top months that organizations receive the highest donations, so decide how you are going to get your supporters involved. It is also an extremely busy time of year, so planning ahead is a must so that people can save the date of your event before they get too busy. You may also want to plan two or three different activities to allow options and accommodate busy schedules.
3) Think of a catchy phrase to stand out on Facebook. With Facebook, it’s easy just to scroll down the page and never really take notice of each post. And if there’s a video that someone has posted, the chances are slim to none that I’ll take the time to click on it. Sometimes, however, a post will catch my eye. A few days ago, this nonprofit post got my attention: a picture with a guy at his office desk captioned “Your boss is probably looking over your shoulder right now and wondering why you are on Facebook. Well tell him that it’s because you need to vote for [name of organization] to reach 1,000 votes to win airfare to further their cause. Click on the link provided to vote!”. This nonprofit posts daily pictures and press releases, but this was the first time I actually read their post and yes, I did vote! Write something that makes someone take notice and think twice. You could say, “We don’t want you at our event!… If you’re boring, apathetic, or a party-pooper, please stay at home. BUT, if you want to have a good time, join the party at _________.”
3) Get creative with your Fundly page. Break down your giving levels into what each amount will go towards. If you’re raising money for a school library, set a level saying $100 buys ten books. If you’re a church, explain that $50 will send 25 Bibles to China. Think beyond the basic “gold, silver, and bronze” names and apply the titles to your event or cause’s purpose. For the library, you could list the “John Steinbeck, Mark Twain, and Jane Austin” levels. You may also want to print these categories in your event program with the names of your supporters. Through giving online, you have the advantage to acknowledge the generosity of your supporters in the event program instead of after the fact which can inspire others to support your cause.
The bottom line: think about what you know how to do on the computer and with social networking sites and figure out how to apply it to your fundraising needs. You don’t need to spend hours researching new ideas or long periods of time watching lengthy tutorials. Just a little creativity can go a long way.