By Justin Brady, Achieve Consulting Associate
The Achieve and JGA 2011 Millennial Donor report showed that Millennials are motivated by peers and prefer to give in response to a personal request. A new trend in online fundraising echoes this – peer or social fundraising takes the fundraising power out of the hands of a nonprofit and puts the responsibility on individuals who care deeply about the cause to recruit their friends to support and donate.
A variety of online services continue to emerge to make it easy for nonprofits to do this. Maybe unsurprisingly most have been founded by Millennials who thought it was time for a new and more engaging way to donate online.
The major components for a successful social fundraising site include:
- Social integration, video and sharing features
- Visual goal progress and ways for users to be updated on campaign progress and understand impact of gift
- Options for individuals to start own fundraiser or nonprofit to manage campaign
To save you time researching, I have narrowed the list to 5 sites and scenarios to help you find the right fit for your organization. It should be known that I don’t have firsthand experience running campaigns on any of these services, but from exploring a variety of factors I can verify that each has pros and cons.
SCENARIO 1: My organization wants to peer fundraise but leadership is nervous about testing this concept and need a low-risk option. Razoo
has all the basic features a successful peer fundraising campaign needs. It won’t have all the bells and whistles, but it will be very easy to get started and navigate the waters. Plus, the team behind this seems bright, so more features are probably only a matter of time. Cost: Only 2.9% per donation, making it the cheapest option.
SCENARIO 2: My organization is ready to reach a young audience and has a tech savvy team to make it happen.
A quick browsing of the site will make it clear that the Crowdrise
team wants to make fundraising online a fun social experience and they do it with a sense of humor. If your organization is more traditional, this attitude may be too much to start with. But if you are open to it, there are a lot of great options including a point system to incentivize individuals to fundraise. Cost: 5% fee per donation processed through Network for Good.
SCENARIO 3: My organization wants resources to make sure we succeed and analytics to prove the ROI. We already have established a social presence that is ready to mobilize. Causes is best known as the integrated Facebook app for fundraising. Organizations can also setup stand-alone peer fundraising campaigns at Causes.com. Causes has lots of options, includes a built-in dashboard for tracking activity, plus lots of best practice tutorials and webinars to help you succeed. Warning: You can’t just put a causes app on your Facebook page and call it a day. You need to actively have supporters fundraising for you, or else any new traffic you get to your page will see no one donating and be turned away. Cost: 4.75% Network For Good
SCENARIO 4: My organization falls somewhere in between – not quite social guru but not a novice. StayClassy
seems like a good option for those who want the simplicity of Razoo, but need a bit more social integration and built in analytics. Check out the Invisible Children campaign for a great example of the potential to use this to mobilize individuals to fundraise for you at smaller levels. Cost: 4% with a smaller fee for microdonations of less than $5. Plus ticketing options if you are fundraising with an event.
SCENARIO 5: My organization is open to taking risks to fundraise. Kickstarter
has an all-or-nothing funding model that can be terrifying, but also quite motivating. If you don’t reach your fundraising goal, you don’t get any donations. Campaigns must include incentives for donors at varying levels, this makes individuals have more at stake if they organization doesn’t reach their goal. Kickstarter is really made for creative projects and therefore won’t be for every organization. If you are up for taking a risk, you might end up with great results. Cost: 5% fee plus 3-5% credit card.
If you have money to invest and are ready to take it to the next level, give2gether, First Giving, and GiveZooks are just a few options that will be more customizable, but have a setup or ongoing monthly fee to operate.