May 30, 2012

7 tips to attract more donors for your cause


Image by David Minder on Flickr

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

Guest post by Rob Wu
CauseVox

Do you want to know how to attract more donors? Want to learn the secrets used by professional fundraisers?

Of course you do! Fundraising is your nonprofit’s lifeblood. It funds fuel the impact you make.

But thinking of effective ways to raise funds occupies valuable time and energy you could be spending on your programs. Most of us aren’t professionally trained fundraisers, so it doesn’t come naturally to us. We know how to make an impact, yet we’ve had to learn fundraising the hard way: through trial and error, learning from our mistakes.

But we’ve got great news! At CauseVox we’ve just launched a free 7-part video series to coach you on fundraising fundamentals. Ruthellen Rubin, CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) and professor of philanthropy at New York University, teaches the series. She distills more 30 years of professional nonprofit fundraising experience and expertise into seven short videos.

Consider these seven tips for getting more donors for your nonprofit a preview of the series:

Develop a case for support

1Your prospective donors are asking why they should support your nonprofit. You need to clarify why you’re asking for a donation, and sell the successes of your nonprofit. Developing a case for support gets donors to invest in your organization. People don’t give to charity anymore; they invest in results.

Create real, personal and urgent appeals

2The most effective fundraising appeals are real, personal and urgent. Use compelling storytelling with images and videos to connect a donor’s donation to a tangible impact. Let the donor directly see the result of his or her donation.

Startup founders must have fundraising responsibilities

3In a start-up nonprofit, the founding team is responsible for setting an example. The team should be the first to donate to the organization so that others will follow their lead. The amount doesn’t matter. Participation by the full team matters more. Continue reading

August 3, 2011

How to find amazing, powerful stories for your nonprofit video

Video stories

 

Strategies for identifying stories that exemplify your organization’s mission

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, social enterprises, brands, educators, video producers, Web publishers, storytellers, individuals.

Part 1 of a two-part series focused on using video to tell compelling stories. Also see part 2:
16 tips for making video interviews come alive

By Lindsay Oberst
Socialbrite staff

Lindsay OberstAll too often, nonprofit organizations fail to take advantage of their greatest asset: stories.

Stories help us interact with our world and make sense of it. They link us together and shape our view of the world. Nonprofits, however, often miss the stories that surround them; the stories that can help them raise more funding, expand awareness of their cause and reach their goals.

Rob Wu is the creator of CauseVox, a platform to help nonprofits raise funds. He believes that nonprofits are missing a huge opportunity in stories.

“Generally, nonprofits use some level of storytelling but not to the fullest,” Wu said in an email. “The nonprofits that use stories in a meaningful way craft an overarching narrative of their organization and supporting stories that compel their audiences to action. Often, I hear nonprofits talk about fundraising strategies or a communications plan, but seldom do they talk about a storytelling strategy.”

Using stories is something that nonprofits can do in many areas of their work, yet videos are a particularly powerful tool. Especially considering that U.S. Internet viewers watch almost 20 hours of online video per month, according to statistics released in June.

Video storytelling draws us in by appealing to our emotions — a faraway woman with big eyes telling us about the children she can barely feed or the excitable entrepreneur full of passion for his idea. And then if done properly, video stories cause people to take action. Continue reading

June 28, 2011

Unleash your nonprofit’s fundraising potential

 

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. Continue reading

April 26, 2011

15 ways to crowdfund your startup or project

social-entrepreneur-funding

 

Have you considered asking the community to support your new enterprise?

Target audience: Social enterprises, nonprofits, volunteer groups, sustainable businesses, community organizations.

Guest post by Kerry Given
Green Marketing TV

Finding funding can be one of the biggest challenges for social entrepreneurs. Fortunately, there is a growing number of options for social entrepreneurs and founders looking for capital to start or expand their social enterprise, startup or nonprofit organization and do more good in the world.

One non-traditional funding opportunity that has seen exponential growth in recent years is the phenomenon of “crowdfunding.” Family and friends have been one of the most common sources of venture funding capital for centuries. Crowdfunding takes this age-old source of venture funding and brings it into the digital age.

Thanks to social media and other forms of modern technology, entrepreneurs are able to build networks of friends, colleagues and like-minded individuals more easily and effectively than ever before. Crowdfunding websites allow entrepreneurs or project leaders to leverage these networks to gain funding.

Typically, entrepreneurs post a request for funding on a crowdfunding site with a detailed project description. Depending on the site, funding may be provided as a loan or a donation. Once the funding request is posted, the entrepreneurs use their networks to spread the word about their project to potential donors through word of mouth, email, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.

Crowdfunding is not for everyone. The majority of crowdfunding sites fund entrepreneurs on an all-or-nothing basis. If the project is fully funded when the deadline arrives, the money is given to the entrepreneur. If it is not fully funded, it is returned to the donors to keep or donate to another project. So it’s important to have a compelling project or story and to be a skillful marketer and networker to ensure that word about your project reaches enough potential donors to fully fund the project before the deadline. If you’re confident that your social enterprise has what it takes to become a crowdfunding success story, you may find crowdfunding to be the perfect option for your fundraising efforts.

The following is a list of crowdfunding websites that can help your social enterprise, sustainable business or nonprofit organization get off the ground:

33needs

33 Needs: Connecting microinvestors & social enterpreneurs

133needs is a recent crowdfunding startup that connects microinvestors with social entrepreneurs who have big ideas in categories such as sustainable food, health, education and the environment. Investors can earn a percentage of revenue in exchange for their support.

appbackr

AppBackr: Offset app development costs

2A specialty crowdfunding site that may be useful to some social enterprises, AppBackr allows Apple developers to get funding upfront for iPhone, iPod and iPad apps in the concept stage by selling the app wholesale to backers, who receive a percentage of the profits for the apps they have purchased. Many app buyers also assist developers with marketing and promoting their apps to ensure that their investment is fully recouped. With a growing number of social enterprises tapping into the explosive apps market to raise awareness and sell products or services, AppBackr may be a useful tool to help offset app development costs, and even gain some extra promotional help.

buzzbnk

Buzzbnk: Supporting a wide range of fields

3Buzzbnk is a crowdfunding platform especially for social enterprises that allow funders to donate either money or time to support social enterprises working in a wide variety of fields. Though based in the UK, it is open to social ventures operating anywhere in the world. Social enterprises must submit their project proposal to Buzzbnk and the Buzzbnk team will work with the social enterprise to help develop appropriate fundraising targets and benefits or rewards to offer funders.

causevox

CauseVox: Fundraising pages for nonprofits

4CauseVox offers nonprofit organizations a fully customizable fundraising page that makes collecting money from supporters easy. Supporters can also create their own personalized fundraising pages. Social media integration makes it easy to embed YouTube videos, Flickr slideshows and more.

profounder

ProFounder: Investors share in the profits

5ProFounder caters to entrepreneurs – social or otherwise – who are looking for alternative sources of venture capital. ProFounder provides a secure platform where entrepreneurs can raise money from family members, friends and other connections, who then receive a share of the profits when the business they have invested in succeeds. This revenue sharing system is good for investors and good for entrepreneurs, because it doesn’t commit entrepreneurs to making debt payments (potentially with high interest rates) during periods of bad business, only when the business is successful and profitable. Continue reading