September 15, 2011

GoodThreads: Custom T-shirts as a fundraising tool

GoodThreads order form


Connecting people to causes through shirts that tell stories

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, social enterprises, brands, fundraising professionals, community managers.

This article is part of our series on social fundraising.

Guest post by Brandon Hance
Founder & CEO, GoodThreads

In 2010 our family lost my aunt Carol to breast cancer. When tragedy strikes, I believe it is part of the human condition to find healing through “the fight” against the culprit – be it disease or disparity. Additionally, surrounding friends and family often rally around those who have been affected and show them support, caring and compassion.

This theory became blazingly clear to me as I watched my mother and close friends train for a 39-mile race to honor my aunt soon after her passing. Not only did they train, but they spent ample time, energy and money creating T-shirts for their team, each with unique messages dedicated to my aunt, and each remembering her in their own distinct way. As I observed this labor of love, I couldn’t help but think: There must be a better way to do this — and a way that actually benefits the organization.

Thus, GoodThreads was born, and the idea of connecting people to a cause through “shirts that tell stories” became a reality.

GoodThreads provides nonprofits with a technology that seamlessly integrates into the event registration and donation processes, while supporters are given the tools to create customized merchandise — T-shirts, hats, bags, water bottles, etc. — that allows them to tell their personal story and demonstrate their connection to the cause.

Nonprofit organizations that partner with GoodThreads enable their supporters to buy merchandise that can then be customized with their name, the name of a loved one, photos or other images, and personalized messages. GoodThreads also allows the nonprofit to identify what portion of the item’s cost will be donated to its cause. Continue reading

September 14, 2011

Fundly: Tap into your supporters’ social networks

Social is Everything
Image courtesy of Fundly

Nonprofits can increase funds raised by more than 50%, says Fundly CEO David Boyce

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, fundraising professionals, social media managers, donors.

This article is part of a series focused on social fundraising.

By Tamara Schweitzer
Socialbrite staff

Tamara SchweitzerDid you know that individuals donate $300 billion to nonprofits every year? But only 13 percent of that amount is given online. Why is that? According to David Boyce, CEO of the social fundraising platform Fundly, the only reason that number isn’t higher is because nonprofits don’t make it easier for their supporters to give online.

Boyce, who presented at the Social Media for Nonprofit event in New York last month, wants to help nonprofits make fundraising a more social and Web-based experience. Increasingly, charitable giving is moving online – in fact, online giving grew at a rate of 55 percent in 2010.

The problem, Boyce says, is that 90 percent of online donations are what he calls “one-and-done transactions.” Meaning, the supporter goes to the organization’s website, clicks on a form to donate, fills out their credit card information and hits contribute. There’s no shelf life to that action at all, and Boyce believes that’s not the way that most people want to interact when they give money away. “They want to join something and feel like they belong, so it needs to be inclusive and it needs to be social,” Boyce told me when we met at the conference.

What exactly is social fundraising?

Social fundraising is a way to leverage the power of your supporters’ social networks to gain more donations. If a supporter is giving to you, it’s because they care about your cause, and they’re going to want to share that with their friends, too. With social fundraising, you are opening up that individual act of giving to the power of social networks so that every transaction is just a jumping off point for supporters to be able to share their passion and commitment with their online networks.

People are 10 times more likely to make a donation when asked by a friend than when asked by an organization, and these gifts tend to be about 50 percent bigger.

Boyce says supporting a nonprofit is inherently a social experience. Want proof? According to figures from Fundly, people are 10 times more likely to make a donation when asked by a friend than when asked by an organization, and these gifts tend to be about 50 percent bigger. Continue reading

September 12, 2011

What social fundraising means for your nonprofit

A look at the growing phenomenon of social media fundraising

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, fundraising executives, social media managers, donors.

This article is part of our series on social fundraising.

Debra AskanaseI’ve been looking forward to the promise of “social media+fundraising” for a while now. There are plenty of fundraising solutions that leverage social media, relying on fundraisers to tweet, share, and post their fundraising pages to their social networks. There are also fundraising solutions that fully rely on and live within a social platform, such as a Facebook fundraising application or a fundraising widget you place on your blog. Then there is the newest evolution: fundraising that innately uses social media as a platform.

In the slide presentation above, I review the three categories of social media fundraising and my thoughts about how social media fundraising has finally arrived in a real way.

Sharing is huge

A report from Share This states that sharing generates more than 10% of all internet traffic. In order of frequency, most people click on links shared within Facebook, followed by “other” (blogs, social bookmarking, etc.), email, and Twitter. Facebook is the largest sharing channel, at 38%, which is why so many online fundraising pages are shared and shared again on Facebook.

sharing stats

Social fundraising is growing

By all definitions, online fundraising is growing. Social fundraising is also growing. Network for Good’s online giving study’s quarterly giving index illustrates that, despite the current poor economic outlook, social giving is still rising. In Q1 and Q2 of 2011, social giving increased (though Q1 giving may have been skewed by Japan tsunami relief fundraising). The 2011 Nonprofit Social Network Benchmark Report of US nonprofit social media fundraising reports that Facebook is the social media platform most nonprofits are using if they are participating in social media fundraising, though it is still a very small percentage who have raised significant money using Facebook.

Online giving growth

Social sharing of fundraising pages yields results: Social media fundraising that leverages social networks

When fundraisers share their fundraising pages to their social networks, giving increases. Blackbaud recently issued a report and created an infographic about the power of peer-to-peer sharing. Blackbaud found that Twitter and Facebook posts convert 0.25% of impressions into donations. It also found that Twitter users increased donations nearly 10x more than those who did not use Twitter. FirstGiving found that for every share to Facebook, 5 people returned to a fundraising page. FirstGiving also found that the value of a share to Facebook was worth $10.87 in donations.

Peer to peer online donation solutions (such as FirstGiving, Razoo, Crowdrise, Donors Choose) where a fundraiser creates a fundraising page and shares that page are increasingly being used by nonprofit organizations, and the culture of online donations is growing. Sometimes these solutions are also called social media fundraising, because they rely so heavily on social media for amplification. These solutions are ideal for leveraging an organization’s base, and increasing donations through personal social network sharing. However, it’s just as important that the nonprofit also have a vibrant social media presence to amplify these efforts and engage with fundraisers.

Giving that relies on or lives exclusively within a social network

Social media fundraising can also be defined as fundraising that happens within a social network, rather than shared to the network. Most examples of these fundraising solutions live within Facebook. Examples include Causes, the What Gives or FirstGiving fundraising tabs that you can add to a Facebook page or profile, fundraising applications developed for a Facebook Page. These fundraising solutions rely on Facebook to thrive: You have to connect using Facebook, and they count on fundraisers sharing with their Facebook friends for amplification. Other examples include Google Checkout for nonprofits on YouTube or fundraising widgets placed on a blog. This type of fundraising is growing, but certainly is not mainstream, and best used where you have a fair number of supporters and know you can energize them. Continue reading