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

May 28, 2010

24 tools for fundraising with social media



How to raise money to support your favorite cause

Target audience: Nonprofits, social change organizations, cause supporters, businesses

By Vivian Ramirez and J.D. Lasica
Socialbrite staff

In the old days — before 2005, remember? — we would solicit our friends to raise funds through walk-a-thons, cake raffles and similar homespun events. If you were raising money for a favorite cause, you’d look to your immediate friends, family and co-workers.

Today, social media has changed the game. With the surge of Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, you can reach a much wider audience to raise money for your cause. The success of such online efforts varies widely: 30,000 runners in the Flora London Marathon raised $7.3 million through the online fundraising platform Justgiving. On a smaller scale, the Trail of Tails Pet Walk and Festival raised $41,000 for the Jacksonville, Fla., Humane Society using social media tools. And New York dancer Amanda Gravel raised $988 using the widget ChipIn for the campaign against breast cancer.

How did it work for them? Social tools now make it easy to solicit donations using fundraising widgets or badges, social networks like Twitter and Causes (part of integrated with Facebook). With Network for Good or PayPal usually handling the transaction, the solicitors can concentrate on sharpening their message and targeting the right recipients. Not all take the same approach: Some let you add advertising to your site, or create personal webpages, as a way to support your cause instead of ponying up dinero.

Depending on the size of your campaign and budget, cause advocates and small nonprofits now have lots of tools to choose from — further down, we’ll tell you about the ones for mid-size and large nonprofits. (See last month’s 10 mobile apps for social good for ideas on how to donate or volunteer using mobile devices.)

Here are 24 tried-and-true tools for online fundraising. Have we used them all? No. But if you’ve used some of these, add your observations. And we know there’s a 25th out there, so tell us your favorites in the comments below.


ChipIn: The easy way to collect money

1ChipIn is the most popular widget used by fundraisers today for distributed fundraising. It’s a simple tool you can place on your website or on a Facebook profile page. It amounts to a donate button that comes with a thermometer that measures the campaign’s progress. If you don’t have a site, you can subscribe to ChipIn and they’ll host your campaign for free. Subscribing to ChipIn is free, but you’ll need to set up a PayPal account to process donations. Every monetary contribution made through ChipIn is charged at a rate beginning at 2.5 percent of the amount donated.


GlobalGiving: Donate to grassroots projects

2GlobalGiving is an online marketplace for philanthropy where anyone can post an idea and get it funded. The nonprofit connects donors with community-based projects that need support in the United States and abroad. You select the projects you want to support, make a tax-deductible contribution and get regular progress updates — so you can see your impact. The organization sustains itself with a 15 percent optional fee you can add so that 100 percent of your donation goes directly to the project.

change-org Empowering people to take action

3A social enterprise, helps to raise awareness about important social causes and to empower people to take action, chiefly through partnerships with leading nonprofits. Actions might range from joining an organization and making a personal pledge to signing an online petition or calling a congressperson’s office about an issue like homelessness or sustainable food. In addition to signing petitions or leaving comments, you can raise funds by creating a page with photos, videos, logos and supporting materials.’s fundraising pages use donation widgets with progress thermometers that track the amount raised. Basic membership is free; it costs $20 a month for those who want customized pages. Donation processing fee: 4.75 percent for every transaction.


ChangingThePresent: Make the world a better place

4ChangingThePresent is a nonprofit that connects you with more than 1,500 meaningful if nontraditional charitable gifts — for instance, “stop global warming for $20″ or “adopt a tiger for $40.” Browse by cause or nonprofit to find a gift for friends or for your own charitable giving. The service also encourages donors to make simple donations of any amount through their home pages. A premium profile costs $100 per year. Donation processing fee: 3 percent of each donation plus 30 cents.


Razoo: Experience the joy of giving

5Razoo is a new way to donate and raise money online. Whether you want to donate money, run a fundraiser for your favorite nonprofit or raise money as a nonprofit, Razoo offers simple, secure tools to achieve your goals. A nonprofit based in Washington, DC, Razoo helps donors find inspiring giving opportunities and helps nonprofits and volunteers with fundraising pages, social media tools and donation processing.


Causes: Empowering anyone to impact the world

6Causes is a wonderful way to gain attention for a cause. Co-founded by Sean Parker, an early member of Facebook’s executive team, Causes allows fundraisers to solicit donations from their own contacts and recruit volunteers who want to participate on behalf of a cause. People who use the site as a way to socialize can also participate in fundraising ideas by posting Cause profiles on their Facebook page. Donation processing fee: 4.75 percent through Network for Good; only Facebook members anyone can donate.

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