June 28, 2011

Unleash your nonprofit’s fundraising potential

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CauseVox makes it simple for nonprofits to build successful fundraising campaigns online

Target audience: Nonprofits, social enterprises, foundations, NGOs, cause organizations, community organizations, small businesses.

Shonali BurkeIattended the Nonprofit 2.0 conference in Washington, D.C., earlier this month, and it was a great gathering of some of the brightest minds in the nonprofit space with plenty of opportunities to strategize for the social good. One of the highlights for me was meeting up with Rob Wu, the founder of CauseVox, particularly because he has a lot of great insights when it comes to helping nonprofits navigate the world of online media.

The more you can get your supporters to spread your story, the easier fundraising becomes

If you don’t know CauseVox, it’s a platform that was designed to make it easier for small and medium-size nonprofits to create dynamic fundraising campaigns without having to develop all the technical know-how. CauseVox’s mission is to take the difficulty and strain out of the fundraising process for nonprofits. Even though they are a startup, the company already has a lot of great success stories of nonprofits that have seen impressive results after conducting their campaigns through CauseVox.

I used my time with Wu at Nonprofit 2.0 to make a video with him that captures what CauseVox is all about and gets Wu dishing his best advice for nonprofits when it comes to creating social media and fundraising campaigns. Check out the video interview above — here’s the link on YouTube.

Rob Wu’s tips for better fundraising campaigns

Rob offered nonprofits these tips:

Tell your stories! According to Wu, a lot of nonprofits make the mistake of not telling their story effectively enough. Typically, organizations will write a whole bunch of text and content on their website and then assume that the visitor knows what they’re trying to do. That doesn’t work. Instead, what nonprofits needs to focus on is how they can tell a compelling story and make it visually engaging online.

storytelling

Don’t focus on the transaction. Wu says he sees a lot of nonprofits that don’t think about the broader strategy of their fundraising campaign and end up focusing too much on getting the money. His advice is to focus first on building your community and identifying who your most passionate supporters are.

Cultivate your biggest fans. Once you’ve identified your core group of engaged followers, Wu says you want to provide ways for them to get involved in your campaign. You want to be telling your story so well that your community feels compelled to go out and tell it for you. The more you can get your supporters to spread your story, the easier fundraising becomes.

Given that organizations are constantly trying to figure out the best approach to their public relations and communications strategy, Wu’s advice really resonated with me. Ultimately, it comes down to the simple principle of telling our organization’s stories to the right people, in the right way, and at the right time.

And, with CauseVox, now we have the tools to do so easily. So how about using them to do just that? What do you think of CauseVox?Shonali Burke is VP Digital for the digital communications agency MSL, Washington, DC (and a former Socialbrite partner). Follow her on Twitter at @shonali.

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  • http://ariherzog.com Ari Herzog

    The advice above is geared to raising funds for an organization and has a community in place, but not an individual raising money for a bicycle road race, right? Or is any of the advice scalable?

    • http://about.me/robwu Rob Wu

      Ari,

      We did a recent study of the 1000+ personal fundraisers on our platform. When we looked at our most successful individual fundraisers, they had seven habits that made them effective. Some of their techniques overlapped with those above tips. We’re releasing our study in the next week or two. I’d be happy to send you a copy.

      -Rob

  • http://about.me/robwu Rob Wu

    Thanks Shonali for writing about us! I hope these tips help. Nonprofits are starting to use technology to deepen relationships rather than just develop more relationships — one of the key components is cultivating the community by telling great stories.