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Online Tools and Practices for Grassroots Fundraising
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Online Tools and Practices for Grassroots Fundraising


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  • Gerald D. Yoshitomi, MeaningMatters, LLC;
  • One of the most important ways for nonprofit organizations to leverage online technology to raise money is by providing their website visitors with the ability to donate online. There are numerous ways for providing this option to your visitors: Place a call to action button or link on your website. Include an online donation form within your website. Link to an external form hosted by an online donation processing service. For example, Native American Public Telecommunications has a “DONATE TODAY!” link in the sidebar menu of their website’s homepage. If we click on this link… (next slide)
  • … we are taken to an external donation form hosted by Network for Good’s DonateNow service. Let’s take a closer look at the form to examine some of the benefits for utilizing a donation processing service like this one. (Examine NAPT donation form) Two other low-cost options for donation processing are Google Checkout and Paypal Donations. Affinity Resources maintains a chart on their website comparing a multitude of online donation processing services.
  • Reasons to start a micro-donation giving campaign: Small time commitment from management Little implementation cost leading to a large return on investment Widening donor market segments Generating new donors and interest Creating ‘buzz’ and word-of-mouth support Ease of social media integration Building momentum, education, and visibility of the organization
  • Micro donations should be the easiest way a person can give money to an organization. It should take less than three clicks on a website or the simple task of responding to an SMS txt message or e-mail. Donors want to know more about an organization once the feel they have invested in it. Send an initial personalized e-mail or SMS text message to donors within 24 hours elaborating on what they are supporting and how they helped. Every donor even one who only gives $5 should feel like they have made a difference and created impact. By framing their support this way, the organization is setting itself up for future involvement and donations. Creating an online community and an interactive online space provides an outlet for people to be involved with the organization outside of the physical space. A behind the scenes look at an organization shows transparency and provides a sense of community. It puts faces, personalities and people with the names, this is important when building support,
  • Text donations have become highly popular in recent years. They provide individuals with a fast method for making a small contribution to nonprofit organizations by adding the donation to the individual’s wireless bill. Text donations also allow nonprofits to receive micro-donations from individuals who may not have access to the Internet. According to the Wireless Association’s Semi-annual wireless industry survey, there are now over 285 million mobile subscribers in the United States, about 91% of the total population. Comparatively, only 77% of the US population currently has access to the Internet. Earlier in 2010, the Pew Internet and American Life Project released a study on Americans’ mobile device and wireless habits. Pew asked survey participants whether they had ever made a charitable contribution via text message. A surprising 10 percent of all cell phone users have. When you look at young people, it gets even more interesting: 19 percent of 18 to 29 year olds have made a charitable donation via text.
  • Some artists and groups find Kickstarter’s “all or nothing” structure to be a great motivator. Others consider it a potential waste of time if their goal is not met. A previous project backer and current project starter, Tirzah DeCaria points out that most projects are funded largely by backers within the artist’s existing network. She advises artists to look at Kickstarter as an opportunity to consolidate and mobilize your network rather than as a tool for reaching large groups of new fans. Kickstarter isn’t for everyone. The site is curated, and in addition to an application process, projects must have a U.S. address and a U.S. bank account. They must also meet the site’s guidelines.
  • RocketHub is another “all-or-nothing” crowdfunding site geared toward artistic and creative projects. RocketHub is not curated, though projects must be legal and “in good taste.” You must have a PayPal account to start a project.
  • Projects on IndieGoGo can be based anywhere in the world. Unlike Kickstarter, the site isn’t curated, so projects cover a broad spectrum — creative endeavors, causes, and entrepreneurial work. And, IndieGoGo is not an “all-or-nothing” enterprise. You can keep any funds you raise along the way. IndieGoGo also has several innovative partnerships, including a fiscal sponsorship program through Fractured Atlas and the San Francisco Film Society.
  • As the #2 website in the world (second only to Google), it is no surprise that Facebook provides nonprofits with the ability to raise funds and awareness with Facebook Causes. Any Facebook user with a little passion and initiative can create a cause, recruit their friends into that cause, keep everybody in the cause up-to-speed on issues and media related to the cause, and, most importantly, raise money directly through the cause for any U.S. registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit or Canadian registered charity. Causes processes the donations automatically via credit card, tally the results, and report the donation activity via a public "scorecard" in the cause. If we click on the “Donate” button in this example, we are taken to a donation form. Let’s take a look. (review example donation form)
  • While it may seem counter-intuitive to use advertising as a strategy for grassroots fundraising, but Facebook ads can leverage your online fundraising efforts and lead to increased donations. (Review how to create an ad – and how to gear it toward grassroots fundraising efforts.)
  • Engaging with culturally specific social networking platforms is another possibility to consider for leveraging your online fundraising efforts. The engagement channels vary from platform to platform, so you will need to do your research to determine how best to engage individuals through your chosen social network.
  • Transcript

    • 1. ONLINE TOOLS AND PRACTICES FOR GRASSROOTS FUNDRAISING David Dombrosky Center for Arts Management and Technology [email_address] August 2010
    • 2. Online Donations: The Basics
      • Be sure to provide your website’s visitors with the ability to donate
    • 3. Online Donations: The Basics
      • To maximize the potential for online donations, you need an online payment processing service.
      • Network for Good’s DonateNow
      • Google Checkout
      • Paypal Donations
      Three Low Cost Options Affinity Resources, LLC maintains a chart on their website comparing various online donation processing services and tools.
    • 4. Online Donations: The Basics
      • The four most important factors to consider when evaluating potential donation processing services:
      • Costs – initial setup fees, monthly service fees, transaction processing fees
      • Methods of funds transfer – do the funds come directly to your organization from the donor, or do they come from the processing service?
      • Access to and privacy of donation data
      • Integration with your website
    • 5. Micro-Donations
      • A micro-donation is a small gift usually given through electronic media.
      • Point-and-click web based interfaces, e-mail, and SMS txt messaging are the most popular and effective platforms.
      • Micro-donation campaigns have not been proven effective for annual giving platforms, large gifts or operating funds.
      • They have been proven effective in supporting specific projects, programs, campaigns, and Individuals.
    • 6. Micro-Donations
      • 5 big tips to help organizations set up a successful micro-donation campaigns:
      • Make it easy to give money and sign up online
      • Reward people who have just signed up with useful follow up contact and content
      • Communicate how much donations matter (even the very small ones)
      • Create online participation opportunities
      • Give people a sense of what’s going on backstage – and in your back offices
    • 7. Text or SMS Donations
      • How it looks to the mobile user:
      • How the funds are distributed:
      SMS (Short Message Service) or text donations allow individuals to give micro-donations to an organization via their cell phone or mobile device. There are a number of service providers who act as intermediaries between nonprofit organizations and wireless service companies .
    • 8. Text or SMS Donations
      • CauseCast
      • Connect2Give
      • g8wave Inc.
      • Give by Cell
      • Give on the Go, LLC
      • The Mobile Giving Foundation serves as a link between nonprofits, the wireless industry and the 280 million wireless users in the US. They bill for the donation through their platform and carrier connectivity, help NPOs market their campaigns, collect funds generated through mobile giving campaigns from the carriers and then distribute the collected funds directly to the recipient charity. The MGF is also responsible for issuing the donor receipt. They currently work with the following service providers:
      • iLoop Mobile, Inc.
      • Mobile Cause
      • Mobile Commons
      • Mpower Giving
      • Russ Reid, Inc.
    • 9. Crowdfunding Sites
      • Crowdfunding websites are a simple way for artists and small organizations to solicit and accept donations online.
      • With Kickstarter , one of the more popular crowdfunding sites, you set a fundraising goal and have three months to achieve it.
      • If you reach your goal within three months, you keep the cash.
      • If you don’t, the funds are returned to your backers.
      • You design a menu of rewards to motivate backers to give.
      • And, you keep 100% of ownership over your project — an important consideration for artists dealing with copyright and distribution issues.
    • 10. Crowdfunding Sites
    • 11. Crowdfunding Sites
    • 12. Crowdfunding Sites
      • Projects on IndieGoGo can be based anywhere in the world.
      • Not curated, so projects cover a broad spectrum.
      • Not an “all-or-nothing” enterprise. You can keep any funds you raise along the way.
      • Has a fiscal sponsorship program through Fractured Atlas
    • 13. Facebook - Causes While anyone can create a “cause” on Facebook, becoming a nonprofit partner organization will allow you to build and customize your profile, increase your organization's rankings in search results, and track causes that benefit your organization. Causes Nonprofit Partner Application
    • 14. Facebook - Advertising Allows you to target your ads by various criteria. You can either pay for impressions or pay for clicks.
    • 15. Facebook - Advertising
    • 16. Facebook - Advertising
    • 17. Facebook - Advertising
    • 18. Culturally Specific Social Networks