The wild world of fundraising online

June 24, 2013

If yours is the kind of organization that cares about your brand, and prefers that people interact with you on your own website, you may see things like Kickstarter as a threat to the way you want to do business. 

However, at this point, it seems fairly certain that online cause and project fundraising is here to stay. So what do you do? Jump in

Why? First, the downside risk is actually very slim. Second, it’s likely that there are far more people clicking around on big social media and crowd funding sites than on your website. And third, unless you try, you’ll never know the answers to questions like these: 

  • Will some of your fans be more inspired by a special project than they are by your traditional fundraising appeals? 
  • Will this bring new donors to your organization? 
  • Could this bring your current supporters even closer because they get to participate in something very concrete – something that becomes their own? 
  • Are these gifts sustainable over the long-term? 
  • Does it matter if they’re sustainable, or is there something else going on here too?

Yesterday, I ran across a Nature Conservancy facebook post that led to this page for their “Plant A Billion Trees” campaign. The execution isn’t perfect. The video could have been more compelling and less traditional. The copy could have done a better job connecting me, here in Oregon, with that threatened forest very far away. Also, there’s a bit of a disconnect between the dollar-a-tree idea… the billion trees planted idea… and the fact that the goal for this particular campaign is only $10,000. 

But still it’s there. They took the plunge. They’re out in the world with it. Their brand isn’t wrecked. They haven’t lost all control. They will make money. Only time will tell whether it was worth it in the end, but at least they’ll know. 

That’s how intelligence is gathered. That’s how change happens.