September 14, 2011

Fundly: Tap into your supporters’ social networks

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Social is Everything
Image courtesy of Fundly

Nonprofits can increase funds raised by more than 50%, says Fundly CEO David Boyce

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, fundraising professionals, social media managers, donors.

This article is part of a series focused on social fundraising.

By Tamara Schweitzer
Socialbrite staff

Tamara SchweitzerDid you know that individuals donate $300 billion to nonprofits every year? But only 13 percent of that amount is given online. Why is that? According to David Boyce, CEO of the social fundraising platform Fundly, the only reason that number isn’t higher is because nonprofits don’t make it easier for their supporters to give online.

Boyce, who presented at the Social Media for Nonprofit event in New York last month, wants to help nonprofits make fundraising a more social and Web-based experience. Increasingly, charitable giving is moving online – in fact, online giving grew at a rate of 55 percent in 2010.

The problem, Boyce says, is that 90 percent of online donations are what he calls “one-and-done transactions.” Meaning, the supporter goes to the organization’s website, clicks on a form to donate, fills out their credit card information and hits contribute. There’s no shelf life to that action at all, and Boyce believes that’s not the way that most people want to interact when they give money away. “They want to join something and feel like they belong, so it needs to be inclusive and it needs to be social,” Boyce told me when we met at the conference.

What exactly is social fundraising?

Social fundraising is a way to leverage the power of your supporters’ social networks to gain more donations. If a supporter is giving to you, it’s because they care about your cause, and they’re going to want to share that with their friends, too. With social fundraising, you are opening up that individual act of giving to the power of social networks so that every transaction is just a jumping off point for supporters to be able to share their passion and commitment with their online networks.

People are 10 times more likely to make a donation when asked by a friend than when asked by an organization, and these gifts tend to be about 50 percent bigger.

Boyce says supporting a nonprofit is inherently a social experience. Want proof? According to figures from Fundly, people are 10 times more likely to make a donation when asked by a friend than when asked by an organization, and these gifts tend to be about 50 percent bigger.

Over the past few years, a number of platforms have launched to help nonprofits, organizations and individuals with online fundraising. Each has something slightly different to offer, but Boyce says regardless of what your needs are, there is a platform out there for you so you don’t have to build anything yourself. Most online fundraising platforms are as easy to set up as a Facebook page. If you haven’t explored the options, this article from the Socialbrite archives is a great place to start: 24 tools for fundraising with social media.

Also see Debra Askanase’s article from this series for a comprehensive breakdown of the different types of social media fundraising platforms available to organizations and a look at what features are right for your nonprofit.

What sets Fundly apart

CEO David Boyce: Fundlyhas raised $215 million for nonprofit causes.

Fundly is part of this emerging and fast-growing group of companies focused on social media fundraising. (See Social fundraising tools: Our top 5 picks.) However, unlike platforms such as Facebook Causes and Crowdrise, the Fundly platform operates within an organization’s own Web domain. Therefore, instead of visitors locating the organization’s fundraising page on another website and giving via outside channels, Fundly allows organizations to embed their campaign directly onto their website with a simple Java script. This allows organizations to engage supporters directly from their website and turn every giver into a gatherer for the cause.

Once a donation is made on a Fundly-powered website, that donor is prompted to tell their friends. Fundly’s algorithm has the ability to tell who your donor’s Facebook friends are and lets them know about any friends within their network who have also donated to the cause. This creates a sense of community around giving, says Boyce, and rather than an isolated action, giving quickly takes on a multiplying effect.

Once an organization has built a community of supporters around a cause, every time something noteworthy happens in your network, Fundly will spread the word via the social Web. For example, if a friend of someone in your network made a donation or joined, notifications will go out to your followers. Fundly calls this the “social multiplier effect.”

Social Multplier Effect

Mastering social fundraising

Boyce cautions that Fundly was not designed to have social networking take the place of traditional fundraising efforts. Just because you put your fundraising campaign out into the social sphere doesn’t mean that it’s automatically going to spread around, he says. As with the rules to any fundraising campaign, you have to stay involved and continue to cultivate your zealots – your committed supporters, board members, community organizers, etc. who are your key to making your fundraising campaign succeed through social media. Your zealots are going to be the first people who share their support with their friends and networks, so it’s important to interact with them frequently.

Since its founding in 2009, Fundly has helped its clients raise over $215 million for their causes.

Have you used Fundly or another social fundraising platform? Let us know what you have found effective.

Fundraising series on Socialbrite

What social fundraising means for your nonprofit

Social fundraising tools: Our top 5 picks

Fundly: Tap into your supporters’ social networks

GoodThreads: Custom T-shirts as a fundraising tool

HelpAttack!: Unleash the charitable power of social media

Rally: Raise money for your favorite cause

Mobile: The next frontier of nonprofit fundraising

10 tips for a successful fundraising event

Previously on Socialbrite

24 tools for fundraising with social media

8 tips for raising funds online

A beginner’s guide to mobile fundraising

Tamara Schweitzer is Executive Editor of Socialbrite. She also writes about social entrepreneurship for Dowser.org. Follow her on Twitter at @tschweitzer.

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