Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Crowdfunding (Nicole Wilken)



Crowdfunding is a relatively new opportunity in philanthropy in which anyone can post fundraising efforts and set up an online campaign. Starting with Kickstarter in 2009, these sites have grown steadily and are expected to facilitate an estimated $3 billion of fundraising in 2013. There are quite a few ways that crowdfunding sites have been used – not just by non-profits, but by teachers, parents, small business owners, and regular people. These sites mostly fall into two categories – sites meant to raise venture capital for start-up businesses and those raising funds for non-profits/personal issues. From the philanthropic perspective, I really like Indiegogo (more general browsing, though you can search campaigns from verified non-profits only), GlobalGiving (focuses specifically on opportunities for social entrepreneurship and social justice), and Donors Choose (funding educational opportunities posted by public school teachers). Crowdfunding is great for low-budget philanthropists who may not be able to make a major gift. With crowdfunding sites, these donors can still be involved in larger campaigns. In this way, these sites allow donors to begin thinking about philanthropic opportunities, which is an important step for them to find meaning in their gifts.

Here are some important ideas about crowdfunding:

  • If you are interested in learning more, this article from the Fundraising Authority is a helpful resource to learn how crowdfunding can be used to assist non-profits in their fundraising goals. The most important piece of advice is to begin publicity with your own network of supporters, before expecting to seeing greater returns from the general public.

  • If you want to know how people review certain crowdfunding sites based on usability and impact, visit this website.

  • If you like to use crowdfunding sites, try to notice if there are any trends in your giving. What type of projects do you tend to gravitate toward or donate to? This may be an indication of what you are most passionate about and what opportunities in which to get more involved in the future.
  • If you are interested in making a charitable gift in honor of someone during the holiday season but can’t find the perfect charity, consider giving a GlobalGiving gift card in order so that the person can choose what type of project they want to support. Like Andrea said in her recent post, charitable gifts offer a unique way to share the joy during the holiday season.

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