A study from Giving USA shows that while the state of recent economics has found a decrease in overall contributions to non-profits, in a time of recession and increased taxes for the rich, the sharpest and most impactful decline has been in the generosity of wealthy donors.
The Chronicle reports a 64-percent drop in the total value of gifts of $1-million or more in the past year, an undoubtedly devastating statistic for charities that have relied solely on these contributions. Non-profits can no longer depend on a handful of large donations as their primary monetary source, and this calls for a change in thinking as well as a change in fundraising. It’s time to turn to the lower tiers of donors, and this means getting creative.
This is where crowdfunding comes in. Crowdfunding platforms like Fundly allow organizations and individuals to create a much more interactive campaign page and donation form. With these tools, users network and pool their resources under a single organization or in support of the same cause, a collaboration that now proves more fruitful than these people simply making individual and isolated donations.
In minutes, anyone can make a campaign page with an “about me,” pictures and videos, a progress bar that shows your goal and how much you’ve raised towards it, and Facebook comments and shares. And with Fundly, it’s free. But unlike sites that claim they are “social” by simply providing a link to share your donation with Facebook or other sites, users create their own profile with Fundly. This allows campaign pages to boast a list of supporters, recent donations, and top donors and fundraisers.
In addition to making the donation process more engaging, social, and personal, users have the easy option of going beyond a donation and getting involved by becoming a volunteer fundraisers and making their own personal fundraising page under the umbrella of the greater organization. The magic of crowdfunding lies in this breakdown of transforming donors into fundraisers. Instead of making a singular donation, these users are now empowered, grassroot ambassadors for the cause, investing their own time and pooling their own resources. People may no longer have the money to make a large contribution out of pocket, but with Fundly, anyone with a computer has the ability to fundraise, and making the creation of personal fundraising pages so easy (and free) really encourages people to get more involved.
For example, consider Jane Doe, who was hit hard by the recession, and now, although still passionate about the American Red Cross, can only afford to spare $100 for the cause. But after becoming a volunteer fundraiser with Fundly, Jane Doe is no longer a weak credit card at the end of a donation form, but the manager of and driving force behind “Jane Doe for the American Red Cross.” While still easily linked to the main organization’s campaign page, she can also create her own about me that describes why she is personally invested in the cause and why her friends and family should donate.
Then she can share her campaign with her online world through Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, email, Pinterest, Tumblr, Reddit, and over 300 other platforms. In addition to exponentially increasing the number of people the original organization will reach, these people are much more likely to donate to a campaign from a friend with a personal plea for compassion and a direct call to action than to a general website or a mass message from a mailing list. If Jane has 300 online friends, even if only a fifth of them make a donation of $10, all of a sudden Jane Doe, who couldn’t afford to donate more than $100, is contributing six times that much!
Small donations may not have had much of an impact in the days of snail mail, but because of the campaign page’s public list of donors (although all donors have the choice to be anonymous) and the value of social media, each donation goes beyond its financial measure by building the networking power behind the campaign. Some non-profits have been able to get away with neglecting single and double-digit donors in the past, but with crowdfunding, these people are the building blocks to successful fundraising. The power behind crowdfunding doesn’t come from large bank accounts, it comes from the power of networking and community, and in an age when the former is in short supply, this power is everything.
In times of recession like what the world is experiencing today, fundraising for causes by crowdfunding smaller donation amounts via the social web, like using Fundly, the leading social fundraising platform for causes of all sizes and promoting your fundraisers via popular social networks like Facebook helps many causes big and small to engage more people and get donations online a lot easier than what has been done in traditional ways in the past.