November 27, 2012

Last call for your nonprofit to join #GivingTuesday

Leverage the power of #GivingTuesday to raise awareness & funds

John HaydonToday charities, families, businesses and folks like you will come together to help create #GivingTuesday. This creates an opportunity to join a massive trending conversation on social media that will surely create more awareness for your cause.

How can your nonprofit join #GivingTuesday? After you become a #GivingTuesday partner, create a Partner Page to be featured on the GivingTuesday website.

Then use your existing social channels to tell your people about #GivingTuesday: Continue reading

October 31, 2012

Why can’t I raise any money with social media?

Help your donors climb the ladder of engagement

First of two parts. Next:
Tips & tools for effective online fundraising

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

John HaydonWhy does it seem that raising money with social media is almost impossible?

We all know that retweets can travel faster than an earthquake and Facebook is basically word of mouth on steroids.

But why do so many social media fundraisers fall flat?

The answer lies in understanding exactly how people use social media, and why these tools even exist in the first place.

Four ways you use social media

If you think about your own behavior, you’ll realize that you use social media in at least four different ways:

  • Connect – Facebook is a friend network. The reason you visit your Facebook news feed is to see what’s happening with your friends. Updates from brands, including nonprofits, are mostly interruptions.
  • Discover – Twitter is where you discover interesting pictures, videos, and blog posts. You’ll also make new friends who might eventually become Facebook friends. YouTube is where you discover awesome videos, either by searching or browsing categories and trending videos.
  • Continue reading

April 3, 2012

Charity Blossom: Another step forward for social giving

36 million pages makes it easy for people to find their favorite causes

Target audience: Nonprofits, foundations, NGOs, cause organizations, cause supporters.

Guest post by Janet Fouts
Social Media Coach

You may have read my post here a few months ago about social fundraising, and I wanted to share a new start-up in this category that has a unique twist.

Founded by Wayne Yamamoto and Jason Culverhouse, both of whom have several successful start-ups to their credit, Charity Blossom has listed close to a million nonprofits on their website. The list of charities runs the gamut from huge multi-national organizations like the Red Cross to tiny, very local charities like my favorite, Town Cats, which may not have the bandwidth to set up fundraising pages on their own. Listings on the site give an in-depth background on the charity based on their Form 990 documentation, so donors can make informed choices and even add comments or update some of the information on the charity, upload photos or discuss the charity right on the page. Continue reading

November 14, 2011

Social fundraising tools for nonprofits & causes

JD LasicaAt the Vivanista Charitable Fundraising Summit and Bootcamp, held Saturday in San Francisco, Janet Fouts and I closed out the afternoon with a wide-ranging conversation with nonprofit representatives in the audience about social media tools and strategy.

The night before the summit, I put together a one-page color flyer in the visually pleasing style that has characterized these handouts from Socialbrite. Social Fundraising Tools for Nonprofits & Causes (a PDF found at lists 10 platforms for raising funds, including:

The view of Coit Tower from the Art Institute on Saturday (photo by JD Lasica)

• Stalwarts like Fundly, Razoo and Causes

• Relative newcomers like Rally and give2gether

GiveForward, a new platform to help people who need financial support for medical purposes

And others. Be aware that your mileage may vary with some of these platforms — they differ not only in pricing but in placement (your site or theirs), effectiveness with social networks, metrics dashboards and rules governing data ownership.

We’re releasing the flyer under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial license, like others in this series of handouts:

40 hashtags for social good
12 steps to mobilize your cause
10 iPhone apps for social good
12 social action hubs

Video of sessions coming soon

After a full day of sessions, the give and take turned out to be a good way to wind up the summit, held at the San Francisco Art Institute (following a wonderful reception the evening before at the 12 Gallagher art gallery). Questions covered a range of topics, but many centered on internal processes and expectations. For instance:

Q: What do you say to an executive or department chief who insists on hitting certain milestones, such as 1,000 Twitter followers within six months of launch?

A: That’s the wrong metric to emphasize. You can get 10,000 followers within six months, but they won’t be worth much. The quantity of raw followers is less important than the quality — even a few dozen followers can be more useful if they’re passionate and committed to your cause. In the end, what matters isn’t the size of your following in social media but whether those people are taking actions in the real world to advance your mission. Continue reading

November 11, 2011

GoodTwo: Give something back to your donors

Online deal offered to donors through GoodTwo by Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk.

Discover an easy way to fundraise by rewarding your donors with online deals

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, social enterprises, businesses, brands, educators, community organizations, fundraising professionals, individuals.

Guest post by Kristen Elworthy
Director of Marketing & Publicity, GoodTwo

It’s a challenge that every nonprofit, school and community organization faces in a soft economy: donor money is more necessary than ever, but many donors are reducing the size of their gifts or the number of organizations they support.

Solution: make it worth the donor’s while to contribute to your cause. GoodTwo is a fundraising platform that rewards donors with great deals and offers from businesses (think online deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial) while also generating donations for fundraisers. We provide a way for fundraisers to connect with their donors by giving something back.

How it works

  • GoodTwo works with a variety of brands across the country to create great offers that have a built-in donation to a cause in each sale.
  • Causes like yours come to and sign up for a free fundraiser. It takes about five minutes to create your GoodTwo page.
  • Select from all of the deals that we have available across the country, based on the ones that your donors would like best.
  • Promote your page using our built-in e-mail, Facebook and Twitter tools. Every time one of your donors buys one of the deals, they save money and you get a donation!

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