Campaign Spotlight

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:

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Bhatti Mines School Fundraising

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.

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KATwalk For Kathleen

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.

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2nd Annual Haight Ashbury Holiday Art Lights

This year the Haight Ashbury Merchants Association is inviting the community to help them light up the trees on Haight Street.

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Fundly News Roundup: School and University Fundraising

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.

Fundraising News Roundup: Online Fundraising & the Ripple Effect

Fundraising campaigns engineered by kids and for kids hit the news this week, along with other individuals raising money through social fundraising.

Non-profit organizations aren’t the only groups taking advantage of the benefits of social fundraising. Individuals and communities have been finding success with this kind of fundraising as well.

This week, news emerged about a campaign to benefit kids in New York, and campaigns undertaken by children in Massachusetts and Washington. Across the pond, a new study came out showing the powerful ripple effect of big-dollar donations. Here’s a roundup of the most recent events in fundraising.

Cyril van der Haegen – The friends and colleagues of Rhode Island-based illustrator and conceptual artist Cyril van der Haegen have launched a fundraising campaign on Fundly.com to raise money to pay for his cancer treatments. In addition to soliciting online donations from friends and family across a variety of social media outlets, Haegen’s many artist friends donated original works to an auction that was held at Comic Con in San Diego from July 11 to 15.

The Commune Cares – After his insurance company rejected payments for end-of-life treatments, the friends of Wash Pratt-King banded together to raise money to help him and his wife, Tashi, through their difficult time. At just 23 years old, Wash was diagnosed with a deadly brain tumor. Now 25, the money raised through his friends’ Fundly campaign is going to defray the cost of his medical bills and day-to-day living expenses. Friends were so successful in their efforts, they have doubled the goal from $10,000 to $20,000.

Stepping Stones Learning Center – This organization provides care and education for children both with and without special needs in Rochester, New York, and set an ambitious fundraising goal of $350,000 to purchase a new facility and expand its space. The group has so far raised $155,000, and Stepping Stone leaders are optimistic that a Monte Carlo night and an annual 5k run/1k walk in August will bring in even more money.

The Pathway Home – Another group with an ambitious goal is well on its way to reaching it. The Pathway Home has so far raised more than $256,000 of its $600,000 target on Fundly.com, and with a deadline of September 30, it appears well positioned to achieve its goal. The non-profit residential treatment group is dedicated to serving veterans who received traumatic injuries, including amputations, PTSD and brain injuries.

Driving Mrs. M – Amputations aren’t limited to veterans, however. Recently, a third-grade teacher in Massachusetts, Anne Mekalian, lost both arms and legs to a blood infection contracted while in the hospital. Her students, moved by the plight of their teacher, embarked on a crowdsourcing fundraising campaign to help with her treatment and recovery. In addition to the online campaign, students set up lemonade stands across the town to raise money.

Good Cheer Food Bank – A food bank on Whidbey Island in Washington is getting a boost from a young local, according to reports from the Whidbey Examiner. JaNoah Spratt, 12, has been collecting money for the Good Cheer Food Bank in the town of Langley since the age of 7, and has so far raised more than $20,000 by soliciting matching donations from local businesses, enlisting his friends to help raise money and, in his latest venture, writing a book about community involvement.

Peer Effect Research – A new study from researchers at the University of Bristol in England has illustrated the “peer effect” of social fundraising. The researchers found that large donations tend to increase the size of subsequent donations. In their example, researchers said that a single “donation of £100 typically shifts average donations from £20 to £30,” and the effect lasts for roughly 20 subsequent donations, according to phys.org.

You Ask, We Answer! Getting Donors Involved with Social Media

We are getting asked some great questions from nonprofit leaders pertaining to online fundraising during our weekly Tweet Ups. Here are the expanded answers that will hopefully help with your social media fundraising goals.

Q: When sharing my story with potential donors, which works better: videos or pictures?

A: Both are great tools. Video can often captivate donors with a greater connection through music, voices, images, and words. It can give more depth to a story, show your personality, and create a stronger emotional pull. While having a professionally made video is great, it is also costly and time consuming. Depending on your cause and the size of the organization, an amateur piece that is interesting and sincere can be just as effective. (Consider the immense number of videos on YouTube.) On Fundly we have a broad spectrum of videos that are uploaded to fundraising pages which range from kids raising money for their schools to large organizations raising tens of thousands of dollars for their cause. While not every visitor to the page clicks on the play button, I’ve never known of a promotional video that hinders donations.

With that said, pictures are also extremely important for that reason: not everyone has the time or interest to watch a promo video. I believe that having some images are a must to grab attention and create a stronger emotional tie. Fundraising is about creating relationships and knowing who you are giving to, both the organization and the patron of the charity, which allows the donor to form a touchstone of who they are helping. In this fast paced and visual society, you need to grab attention and get your point across the fastest way you can.

Q: What is the best avenue to get people involved with my cause? Social networks, email, or street teams?

A: Email is definitely one of the most effective ways to communicate with supporters and has the capacity for the most information. Think about how you compiled your e-mail list in the first place; it was probably through an interest that a person had in your cause and gave a donation, volunteered, or filled out an information card at an event. With e-mails, you are communicating with people who care about your mission which is half the battle!

Social networks are also valuable for getting people involved with your cause. It casts a broader net than e-mails alone. While e-mails are reaching specific people you know, networking sites can advertise your cause to friends of your supporters therefore attracting potential donors.

Q: I have recently decided to run for office, what is the best way to jump start my fundraising campaign?

A: Tell your story, why you’re running, reach out to everyone you know, and encourage them to create personal fundraising pages. The best way for a candidate to get support is word of mouth. Generate interest on social networking sites and have your voters “Like” you on Facebook or tweet about your campaign. Advertise events, where to get signage, or how to volunteer using Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail.

Q: What do you find more effective: suggested giving levels or open donation forms?

A: Utilize both! Suggested levels help donors determine need and make the process easier, open forms give more freedom. Generically speaking, I would take the average donation amount and start a giving level at 50% of that amount then work up accordingly. For example, if the average gift was $50 I would increment the giving levels at $25, $50, $100, $150, and $200. I would also certainly leave a space for whatever the person could give emphasizing that no gift is too small. I would also consider the project that the donations are being used for and the supporters which you are including in your campaign. If you are raising money for school supplies for 100 kids, you wouldn’t necessarily ask for $200. If you are sending letters to your top donors to sponsor a new wing to your building, $200 is a miniscule amount. You may also want to use the formula that if 10% of your donors give to your project, how much would that average out per person and work from there.

Q: We are throwing a school fundraiser, is there a way to get students involved?

A: Getting students involved is always a good idea.  Encourage them to create personal fundraising pages and set goals! What grandparent could resist little Johnny in a video asking in a squeaky voice “Could you please donate to my school’s library so we can have some new books?”  (Check out this post for a great example used on Fundly.) Also, what kid doesn’t love a little friendly competition? You could have a contest and give a prize to the kid with the best video. You could have each class create a webpage and post how much each has raised. You could send e-mails to the parents to get them on board. Take a ton of pictures and post them online to keep the momentum going and to have inspiration for next year’s fundraiser. The possibilities are endless!

Due to the Fourth of July we will not be having our Tweet up this week. However, if you have a question about online fundraising that you want to ask one of our Fundly professionals, we would love to hear from you for our next Tweet Up! Please leave a question in the comment section below or follow #fundraisingtips on Twitter every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. Pacific time.

MSN Video on Fundly and $300 Billion Social Fundraising Market

MSN interviewed Fundly CEO Dave Boyce on our recent entry into the educational and non-profit fundraising markets.  Some memorable quotes are below followed by a link to the full video (3 minutes give or take).

“Politico calls it one of the most ‘in demand’ pieces of technology. Candidates like Barbara Boxer and Meg Whitman use it to help run their campaigns. But this small business says that politics pales in comparison with the $300 billion market they are getting into now.”

“Fundly has a social fundraising platform. Social fundraising has proven to be very effective.  If a friends asks a friend for a donation, your likelihood of a gift is 10x and the average gift is 52% larger.”

“Fundly has been used in more than 50% of the senatorial and more than 33% of the gubernatorial races this political season.  But now the company is moving into a much larger arena.  Political candidates raise on average about $3 billion a year.  Educational institutions raise $30 billion a year and non-profit in general raises $300 billion a year.  Fundly has already secured 40 customers in the new markets and is growing every day.”

You can view the full video is here.

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