March 4, 2013

8 tools to help you fundraise for a cause

individual-fundraising
Photo by Victor1558 on Flickr (Creative Commons)

YouCaring, GoFundMe, other sites help individuals raise money for personal causes & nonprofits

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, social enterprises, businesses, bloggers, social media managers, individuals.

By Lindsay Oberst
Socialbrite staff

Lindsay Oberst

After Superstorm Sandy hit in October 2012, individuals created campaigns and inspired people to donate money using online fundraising tools (including the ones mentioned in this article). These people raised millions of dollars and made many people’s lives a little bit easier.

This type of crowdfunding may not be new, but in increasing numbers, people around the world are creating all kinds of campaigns — for creative projects, technology, nonprofits and much more.

Individual fundraising, which we’ll examine in this article, means money raised from individuals. Two types exist:

  • Individuals raising money for nonprofits
  • Individuals raising money for a personal cause

Continue reading

February 13, 2013

How to raise $1 million on Kickstarter

Kickstarter - Brazil
Image courtesy of Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung via Wikimedia Commons

5 tips on how to stand out in crowdfunding world

Guest post by Christopher Wallace
Amsterdam Printing

Christopher-WallaceLet’s go back in time five years to 2007. You’ve got a great idea to build a watch with built-in Bluetooth, allowing you to control and access your phone or tablet from your wrist. Unfortunately, you’re a relatively broke hobby designer working a 9 to 5 technology job.

How do you proceed? Call up your rich uncle and ask him to back you? Go to the bank and apply for a loan?

Five years ago, any method of raising capital for a project would generally require a substantial profit share once the product came to fruition. Continue reading

August 29, 2012

How crowdsourcing can help your nonprofit

 

Best practices to help you leverage the power of the crowd

Guest post by Soha El Borno
Idealware 

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

Crowdsourcing can help you harness the crowd to increase awareness, cultivate new volunteers, gather information and even get work done — all for a minimal investment. How can you put it to work for your nonprofit or organization?

Since the earliest days of the Internet, people have used it to solicit and organize groups of people to participate in projects in small ways. Called crowdsourcing, this process can be done in a number of ways and used for a variety of goals.

In an early example of the practice, nonprofits would post questions to a Usenet discussion board to seek answers from the community — for instance, asking how to write a particular policy, or for recommendations about recognizing and rewarding volunteers. That “open call” approach is what distinguishes crowdsourcing from outsourcing, in which you’d send a task to a specific person or organization for help.

Crowdsourcing can be done at an organizational or individual level, and nonprofits have used it for everything from marketing and fundraising to volunteerism and activism. It’s a great way to enlist help from a wider community knowledge base, and to engage people in your work.

In the last few years, the rise of social media and new technologies made it easier to reach and engage a broader audience. But how can your organization harness the power of the crowd to help achieve your mission? We asked nonprofit experts and professionals for crowdsourcing best practices and techniques that have worked for them.

Continue reading

December 2, 2011

StartSomeGood: Grow your social impact

social impact

Expanding online fundraising options for change-makers of all shapes and sizes

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, social enterprises, community organizations, social entrepreneurs, change-makers, activists, organizers.

Guest post by Tom Dawkins
Co-founder, StartSomeGood

The last half-decade has given rise to many exciting advances in the area of online giving and community building. The Obama for America campaign was powered by an unprecedented flood of small donations. Kiva made microfinance something we could all participate in, and Global Giving connected us to development projects around the world.

A variety of platforms, including Causes, Razoo and Jolkona, now allow nonprofits to leverage the power of social networks to aid in their fundraising goals. But not all nonprofits, or even most. Without an U.S.-based 501(c)(3) charity registration, an organization cannot use most of these sites. And while a newer group of “crowdfunding” (we prefer the term peerfunding) websites, including Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, allow fundraising by all kinds of groups, charities, nonprofits, for-profits and unincorporated organizations, none of these are focused on social impact projects. In fact, as stated in its guidelines, Kickstarter specifically prohibits “charity or cause fundraising.”

So despite the seemingly diverse fundraising opportunities now available, a huge number of potential social change-makers as well as for-profit social enterprises, pre-tax deductible nonprofit startups and unincorporated community groups (for example the Occupy movement) are not well-serviced by by those offerings. To address this gap and inspire more people to get involved in creating social impact, we launched StartSomeGood eight months ago. Continue reading

June 30, 2011

How CrowdFlower powers crowdsourced labor

Target audience: Nonprofits, social enterprises, NGOs, foundations, businesses, educators. This is part two of a two-part series on crowdsourcing. Also see:

• How nonprofits can use crowdsourcing to work smarter and save money

JD LasicaOne of the most fascinating phenomena in the Web 2.0 world the past couple of years has been the rise of crowdsourcing.

Crowdsourcing comes in a few different flavors (which part 1 covered yesterday). For nonprofits, social enterprises and businesses, the real potential for disruption comes when a global labor force applies itself to a crowdsourced project.

That’s where CrowdFlower comes in. Since my interview with founder-CEO Lukas Biewald at SXSW 15 months ago, the start-up has grown from 15 to 60 employees and is now headquartered in a spiffy second-floor space in San Francisco’s Mission District.

Mollie Allick, director of PR and events for CrowdFlower, talks about what crowdsourcing is and how nonprofits and other organizations can use the power of the crowd to advance their mission in this 4 1/2-minute interview at their offices. “We take large datasets and break them down into small tasks and distribute them to a labor force across the Internet,” she says.

Watch, embed or download the video on Vimeo

It’s not just about reducing costs. CrowdFlower was one of the partners in the collaborative mobile relief effort Mission 4636, which we wrote about following the Haiti earthquake last year. The short code emergency response communication system enabled earthquake victims in Haiti to get life-saving aid by sending a free mobile text message, which local volunteers translated as needed.

One important thing CrowdFlower brings to the party today is that they’re the organizers behind the biggest crowdsourcing gathering around: CrowdConf, to be held Nov. 1-2 at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco, geared to both industry and the academic sector. Last year’s event drew almost 500 people. 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