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!

Give2gether

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.

Razoo

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.

Rally

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