September 20, 2011

Mobile: The next frontier of nonprofit fundraising


Tie your mobile efforts to your email & social media outreach

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, NGOs, mobile advocacy groups, fundraising professionals, social media managers.

This is Part 7 of our series on social fundraising. See below for other articles in this series.

Guest post by Bob Jones
CEO, CharityCall

bob_jonesThere is little argument that email and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are fast becoming mandatory tools for supporter outreach. These communication channels provide nonprofit organizations with an immediate and effective way to solicit, cultivate and engage donor support.

From a pure fundraising standpoint, email and social media channels are only effective when the recipient is able to respond immediately to a call to action. At best, your call to action message is going to be read once, so if that message is compelling enough to cause the recipients to donate, then they must be able to do so immediately.

If your message is compelling enough to cause the recipients to donate, then they must be able to do so immediately.

Today, when your targeted recipient reads your online call to action from their PC, the “donate” link to your website’s donation portal allows them to respond immediately with a gift. So the process of reaching out via email and social media to gain donations is fruitful – as long as the recipient is using a PC.

What happens if your target recipients are reading email and social media updates from their smartphone? Unfortunately, this is where your call to action for donations can hit a dead end, because the “donate” page linked from your current email or social media message may be inconvenient and nearly impossible to navigate and use from a mobile device. Expecting a smartphone user to enter full name, address and credit card number can be a non-starter.

So what can you do? Continue reading

September 19, 2011

Rally: Raise money for your favorite cause

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

This is Part 6 of our series on social fundraising. See below for other articles in this series.

JD LasicaIf you’re a nonprofit looking to raise funds online or an individual looking to support a favorite cause, there’s a new kid on the block you should know about: Rally. Rally is an online fundraising platform that helps causes raise money faster, easier and in a more social way.

Following in the tradition of Causes, Give2gether, Fundly and other social fundraising services we’ve been writing about in this series, Rally brings some impressive things to the party: a sleek, streamlined interface, a simple business model and a platform that will soon be open to anyone who wants to support a cause. We wrote about Rally in Social fundraising tools: Our top 5 picks.

The platform is currently restricted to beta testers, like Students of the World, which raised an impressive amount of money in a few weeks, but is expected to open up to everyone this fall. Rally will be for anyone — nonprofits, foundations, political campaigns, churches, sports teams, neighborhood improvement efforts, filmmakers creating a documentary — looking to leverage social media on behalf of a bigger idea. We’ll update this article when Rally flings open the doors wide.

Check out the Students of the World page on Rally to see what it’s all about. Students of the World is a nonprofit that helps other nonprofits tell their story through video and photography, and they achieved success on Rally by interacting with their supporters with photos, videos and conversation.

I recently visited the San Francisco headquarters of Rally — where they also host the “RallyPad” incubator space for fledgling startups — and interviewed Kaitlyn Trigger, Rally’s director of marketing.

Watch, download or embed the video on Vimeo

Rally is for nonprofits looking for a new revenue stream, Kaitlyn says, but it’s also for any person looking to raise funds to build a neighborhood playground or to raise money to support a friend with a medical condition.

“We know that one of the most powerful ways to get people to donate money is to have a friend ask them,” she says. “It’s the Uncle Joeys and Aunt Lucias of the world. When they tell family and friends about a cause they deeply care about, they’re going to respond much more generously than if an organization makes that ask.”

Rally has no monthly charges, no contract or set-up fees, and a flat per-donation fee of 4.5 percent, which drops to 4 percent when you raise a certain amount. Continue reading

September 16, 2011

HelpAttack!: Unleash the charitable power of social media

Social fundraising tool for nonprofits turns messages into donations

Guest post by Ehren Foss
CEO, HelpAttack!

ehren_fossNonprofits may be interested in what HelpAttack! brings to the social fundraising party. When a donor uses HelpAttack!, each tweet or Facebook update can be a donation, with no need to tag, re-post or change your habits as a donor. It’s a way to seamlessly add giving to your online life.

HelpAttack! was the brainchild of Sarah VelaDavid J. Neff and myself. Everybody was asking Sarah to donate, and before long she was saturated with asks. What if, she thought, the message itself – the tweet, the donation link, the uploaded photo of a proto-mustache – was the donation?

The concept is simple: a penny a tweet could be donated to your favorite nonprofit or cause, no matter what the tweet is about.

Her idea was simple: a penny a tweet could be donated to your favorite nonprofit or cause, no matter what the tweet is about. No need to tag, retweet or change your social media habits in any way. And a more harmonious, slightly less spammy Twitterverse.

Since its initial rollout, HelpAtack! has expanded on that original idea. HelpAttack! has added Facebook pledges and features for cause organizations to create their own page and messaging. Recently, we added a few additional types of pledges: You can now give when someone else tweets or when hashtags and other terms appear on Twitter. Simply decide which organization will receive your donations, assign a donation amount per tweet or Facebook update (or assigned hashtag or term), a maximum donation amount and tweet or update, away. Continue reading

September 15, 2011

GoodThreads: Custom T-shirts as a fundraising tool

GoodThreads order form


Connecting people to causes through shirts that tell stories

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, social enterprises, brands, fundraising professionals, community managers.

This article is part of our series on social fundraising.

Guest post by Brandon Hance
Founder & CEO, GoodThreads

In 2010 our family lost my aunt Carol to breast cancer. When tragedy strikes, I believe it is part of the human condition to find healing through “the fight” against the culprit – be it disease or disparity. Additionally, surrounding friends and family often rally around those who have been affected and show them support, caring and compassion.

This theory became blazingly clear to me as I watched my mother and close friends train for a 39-mile race to honor my aunt soon after her passing. Not only did they train, but they spent ample time, energy and money creating T-shirts for their team, each with unique messages dedicated to my aunt, and each remembering her in their own distinct way. As I observed this labor of love, I couldn’t help but think: There must be a better way to do this — and a way that actually benefits the organization.

Thus, GoodThreads was born, and the idea of connecting people to a cause through “shirts that tell stories” became a reality.

GoodThreads provides nonprofits with a technology that seamlessly integrates into the event registration and donation processes, while supporters are given the tools to create customized merchandise — T-shirts, hats, bags, water bottles, etc. — that allows them to tell their personal story and demonstrate their connection to the cause.

Nonprofit organizations that partner with GoodThreads enable their supporters to buy merchandise that can then be customized with their name, the name of a loved one, photos or other images, and personalized messages. GoodThreads also allows the nonprofit to identify what portion of the item’s cost will be donated to its cause. Continue reading

September 14, 2011

Fundly: Tap into your supporters’ social networks

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. Continue reading

September 13, 2011

Social fundraising tools: Our top 5 picks

charity hands


Give2Gether, Rally, Razoo, Fundly offer nonprofits a new way to support causes

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, fund-raisers, NGOs, social media managers, donors, bloggers, social cause advocates.

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

Guest post by Janet Fouts
Social Media Coach

There’s a new breed of fundraising tools out there that can help organizations with “social fundraising.” These tools leverage the social networks of donors, supporters and organizations to substantially increase the revenue raised as well as the long-term benefits of becoming a part of the fabric of your donors’ social media networks. They focus not just on large donations but on the collective power of micro-donations, which are often repeated and shared with friends.

These applications — which offer people a way to help spread the word about a cause through their social networks and their friends’ networks — arrive with a dazzling array of services and fee structures. Where to start? As the fall “giving season” gets underway, nonprofits are looking at another tight-fisted year. It’s more important than ever today to optimize platforms for donations and offer a way for your supporters to donate on as many platforms as possible.

Here’s a quick breakdown of five applications we like. See the table at bottom for a snapshot comparison of features. Which have you used? Add your experience, feedback and suggestions in the comments, please!


Give2GetherGive2gether leverages social networks all on one page. When your organization builds its main page, a template is created that includes the donor list for the overall initiative, and the “Champion Pages” can also be created as sub-sites by anyone raising funds for your cause. Funds go directly to the organization and to fundraisers for your cause so that your champions never have to worry about funds transfers, etc.

Both organization and champion pages allow users to see at a glance which of their friends have liked or donated to the page, tweet or post to Facebook with their own call to action, and keep tabs on how things are going.

Give2gether also integrates a mass email service with templates you can custom-design for calls to action, as well as create updates and donor thank-yous customized to your nonprofit’s messaging, look and feel.

If what you’re looking for is a mini-site to offer as much data as possible to potential donors complete with ways for them to customize it minimally and share with their friends, this could be a good option.


RazooSo far Razoo is probably the most progressive of all of these sites. It allows you to create team fundraising pages as well as pages at the organizational level. You can accept donations on your own website rather than on their site using an embeddable widget that donors can also use to embed on their own sites with a click. It also offers template-driven event pages you can use for individual fundraising events.

You can send out emails to thank donors, create a personal thank you video, and track reports and donations from your Razoo dashboard or on their iPhone app. You can even register donations made offline so your accounting stays on track, something that can be critical with team fundraisers.

Razoo does not charge a monthly service fee. Instead it takes a flat rate of 2.9% across the board thanks to their partnership with US Bank. Unlike some of the other platforms that deposit funds immediately into your account, Razoo delivers funds once on the 10th of each month either by check or through electronic funds transfer.


Originally launched as a political donation platform called Piryx, Rally focuses on using the social connections of your donors to help spread the word about your cause. Rally lets your individual fund-raisers create their own version of your page and share their stories with their friends. You control the look and feel of the page at the overall template level to keep branding elements intact and then users can add their own call to action, images and information to encourage their fans to donate and help spread the word.

Unlike many fundraising platforms, Rally has its own funds processing capabilities so you don’t pay a processing fee to them and then to the credit card processing company. It also offers multiple platforms from Web-based to mobile in order to reach as many people as possible. Continue reading