Community Fundraising through Crowdfunding

Leading by example, Boys to Men takes fundraising beyond raising funds for a specific cause. They provide an opportunity to improve an entire community through their efforts and crowdfunding. Craig McClain, Executive Director, had this to say about Boys to Men, a 501c3 mentoring program for at risk boys; “We bring a community of boys and men together to support each other, and by doing so we are able to build a better community. Community, which we are going away from, is so important to our program. Just that one word, community, has so much power.”

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On September 19 Boys to Men (BTM) is holding their annual crowdfunding event, 100 Wave Challenge, during which they’ll take inner city kids out surfing. With 175 participants last year and 30,000 emails sent to spread the word about the organization, their supporters are nearly doubling each year. They expect 300 participants this September to join in the fun, each gaining new supporters. The staff appear on television each year to define the mission of Boys to Men to their community, telling about their event, and the specifics as to what BTM does, asking for support. Last year alone their efforts brought them $330,000.

In the San Diego community BTM holds regular in-school meetings at 33 schools during school hours, working closely with school administrators to help at risk boys, 90% of whom are fatherless. They expect they’ll be serving 50 schools within the next year due to their community outreach efforts – in 2009 they were engaged with just one school. Additionally, after- school meetings and evening groups are held weekly and open to all San Diego boys on a voluntary basis. They have created many strong partnerships by this, which alone presents a model for community fundraising for other organizations – schools and nonprofits working together.

Every week Boys to Men mentors show up at middle and high schools to offer boys:

• A community of mentors and role models who listen, encourage and believe in them.
• A community of men who model integrity, accountability, compassion and respect
• A community where boys are empowered to speak their truth, and encouraged to take responsibility for their choices
• A community where boys feel supported, listened to and valued
• A community where boys see their peers are facing similar challenges, and they are NOT ALONE in their struggles.

Joe, 17, came to BTM at the age of 12 in 7th grade. Within a month of joining the program his teachers all noticed an incredible change in him – he had become respectful. He had been seeking negative attention because he felt alone, and instantly had a support group to talk to about his homework, personal struggles, and problems with family and friends. “They don’t tell you what to do, but they lay out options and say they’ll be there to support your choices.”

Joe is graduating from high school early this year and received a scholarship due to his community service efforts. He has helped in the restoration efforts of Lake Helix, and worked on the event setup of The 100 Wave Challenge. “If I had to pick one word about Boys to Men it would be grateful. I don’t know where I’d be without them…for sure I would have dropped out of school.”

During the 2014 100 Wave Challenge Joe raised $4700. He believes that his efforts were so successful because people could tell he was speaking the truth about the program, and that he was genuine in his conversations and what shared on his personal fundraising page. “They saw a living result of the program right there in front of them. I showed them that my heart is in it.”

it-works1The profound impact Boys to Men has on their community is evident, and their successful community fundraising efforts allow them to grow each year. The University of San Diego found through a case study that BTM kids have improved self-esteem, a more positive outlook on life and engage in less risk taking behavior. By walking examples of their program and their crowdfunding event they continually spread the word through community fundraising.

Online Fundraising for Nonprofits: Best Practices

It’s clear that in this day and age, pretty much every fundraising campaign has some kind of Internet presence.  Yet, it’s not as easy as linking to a donation page from your website. In order for your nonprofit organization to be effective with your online fundraising efforts, we recommend following these best practices:

Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 1.45.37 PMBrand Your Fundraising Website

Rather than sending people to a 3rd party website (such as PayPal) embed a “Donate” option right from your nonprofit website that gives people an option to make a donation on a branded fundraising website. 7X more money is raised through custom-branded donate pages vs. those hosted by third parties. Branded websites can be easy to create using a service like DoJiggy’s fundraising software that provides a template where you can upload company logos, photos, videos and select colors and design to match your corporate branding.

photodune-217367-woman-text-messaging-xsMake Sure Your Site is Mobile Optimized

2014 was the year that mobile usage exceeded that of desktop usage. With more than 80% of internet users owning a smart-phone today, you’ll also want to be sure your fundraising website is mobile optimized allowing for an user-friendly experience for supporters who wish to browse your site or make donations directly through their phone. Make sure your mobile fundraising website performs, or people will get frustrated and leave. Include easy navigation, large text boxes to enter donations, or varying donate values so people can easily push a button, integrating with payment services such as PayPal or Google Wallets, and more.

Use Fundraising Widgetsdonate_arrowflash_notagline_red_263x76

Don’t just include a link to your fundraising website on your home page, but add fundraising widgets throughout all the pages on your company website. A simple “donate now” or “make a pledge” button can make it very easy for supporters browsing your site to click-through to your fundraising website. Be sure to make your fundraising widget stand out by using a bold color and clear call-to-action. You’ll also want to add a fundraising widget to your blog articles, company newsletters and social profile pages. If you have sponsors supporting the event, invite them to use the widgets to help promote the fundraiser through their channels.

Use Impactful Graphics for Easy Sharingharvesting dirty water

When posting announcements on your social channels, followers are much more likely to take notice if you use impactful graphics and videos. Not only will this help capture their attention, but may also give them more reason to “share” your post – especially if it is something emotional that people resonate with.  You’ll also want to make sharing easy by incorporating sharing widgets so supporters can help spread your message through their network of family and friends.

Encourage ReCurring & Tribute Giving

Use donation software that allows supporters to set up a profile so they can make regular donations (i.e. scheduled amounts per month/year/etc) – This helps keep your donors engaged consistently and doesn’t require you reaching out to them over and over to collect one-time donations. Allowing for people to make donations in honor of (or memory of) another person is another great way to encourage more-frequent giving from donors.

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Seamless Payment Processing

With an online fundraising campaign, chances are you are processing a number of financial transaction on your fundraising website. This can include: participant registration fees, sponsorship payments, product sales, and of course online donations.  You need to make sure to use a credit card processing partner that is credible, safe and secure. If the payment processor integrates seamlessly into your fundraising website, even better! (again, people don’t like to be taken to an external site to make payments).

 

sources:
http://www1.networkforgood.org/digitalgivingindex
http://www.nptechforgood.com/2014/08/24/10-online-fundraising-best-practices-for-nonprofits/
http://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics/

Keys to the Heart of Successful Fundraising

Our hearts hold the keys to success, yet how does this pertain to effective online fundraising events? Creating relationships whether through community partnerships or with each donor has a lasting impact on annual fundraising campaigns. Mission statements, photos and event themes driven with emotion have the ability to reach across oceans and befriend your audience to give.

Pearls of wisdom in fundraising are expressed by specific examples of successful events:

Reaching constituents emotionally was done with a great degree of effectiveness by Julia during a bike-a-thon to support education in California. Julia is one of the top fundraisers, and from her personal fundraising page, it is easy to see why. Even the scrolling comments from her supporters reflects her commitment to education given the emotional investment shown by each supporter — “Besides the donation, sending a million blessings!”….. Literacy lives! Love, Mom”. Julia has included some touching photos of the kids she teaches and their artwork as opposed to pictures of herself, speaking volumes of her mission. juliashouse

  •  Create an Emotional Connection with your Donors

The importance of building strong relationships with donors is shown by the Sharks Foundation’s Sampling with the Sharks wine tasting fundraiser, with their top donors being at the heart of this exclusive and exciting event. The event provides a casual atmosphere in which fans and donors interact with San Jose Sharks players, coaches, alumni and broadcasters – sharing stories of the game and their personal experiences. The collective shared excitement and passion for the game of hockey and life in the San Francisco Bay Area connect them in this unique and personal atmosphere – giving fans a truly once in a lifetime, up close and personal experience. The two hour wine tasting event includes 14 of Northern California’s most exclusive wineries, light appetizers, Live, Premier and Silent Auctions with proceeds benefiting the Sharks Foundation’s grant process and numerous programs dedicated to enhancing the lives of youth and families in need in the Bay Area.

  • Create Value in Society

While environmental nonprofit organizations are collectively hosting successful events, this special event holds activities for kids focused on learning about birds and bird conservation. They teach children how to properly use binoculars and involve them in learning how to make glass windows friendlier to birds, the importance of clean feeders, and more. A short hike introduces participants to birds and the day culminates with a raptor flight. The event is free, but Boulder’s Migratory Bird Day raises funds for conversation. Every donor contributes to habitat restoration, and are motivated by a sense of commitment to Planet Earth in teaching our children the importance of our environment. boulder

  • Form Community Partnerships

The 7th Annual WINK News Feeds Families Hunger Walk this year raised $330,000.00 for children, families and individuals in need. Overall their fundraising walk-a-thon has raised $1,000,000.00 to fight hunger. One of the most important factors of their success lies in the outreach they have done within their community. They have formed partnerships with their local CBS affiliate as the title sponsor of the walk. This partnership offers them local TV coverage and special interviews; they produce commercials and videos for them. They also have a great partnership with their local newspapers who create and run ads in their publications for this exciting walk of over 1000 participants.

Online fundraising software is important in helping these successful events, yet people making connections and organizations driving from the heart is the common essence of each of their stories of success.

Bike-a-thon Crowdfunding Success – Ride for a Reason

The 7TH annual Ride for a Reason bike-a-thon from Oakland to the Capital to support education and raise essential funds for Oakland schools is happening on March 15. Last year, 250 students, teachers, parents and community members pedaled to Sacramento to draw attention to the crisis in funding for education.

rideforareason

“We once had the best schools in the nation. Working together, we can proudly restore public education in California!”

Every rider creates an individual fundraising page and seeks pledges for their 109-mile ride. A 45-mile ride is in place for novice riders, families, and kids. The organizers provide SAG-wagon support, rest stops, a great lunch, transportation to the starting point for the 45-mile ride, and home from Sacramento. Every bike-a-thon participant and volunteer will gather on the Capitol steps for the call to action and rally for education.

Thus far the top fundraising participant has raised $1700. Julia’s personal fundraising page  includes a comment section from her supporters — “Besides the donation, sending a million blessings!”….. Literacy lives! Love, Mom”. Julia’s fundraising goal shown on the the top of her page is $1800, which looks like she may surpass. She has included some touching photos of the kids she teaches and their artwork which speaks loudly of her mission. Share buttons to social medial platforms and her personal web link make it easy for her supporters to help in spreading the word to support education during this momentous bike-a-thon.

Personalized fundraising merchandise is sold on their bike-a-thon website which not only generates more funds for their cause, but adds excitement and empowerment towards Ride for a Reason. A beautiful and unique custom cycling jersey was designed just for the participants by Bay Area designer, Rob Brown. DeFeet Aireator cycling socks with the R4R logo around the ankle are available for purchase. Transportation to each starting point are sold as products which goes toward the cost of their event logistics. And there is a registration fee for each rider in further covering these costs.

“After years of dis-investment, we must demonstrate to Sacramento that Prop 30 is only the beginning, and make clear that more funding, resources and support is required. Prop 30 will help, but it won’t dig us out of the very deep hole we’re in.”

A great way to obtain a lot of pledges for your bike-a-thon event is through crowdfunding software. Participants can send out an email donation request which includes a link to the online pledge page, making it very easy for potential donors to contribute. Nonprofit organizations may add a link to their online donation page of their organization’s website, and encourage participants to post links on social networking sites. It’s always fun to encourage healthy competition in motivating participants to raise more pledges by providing incentives and prizes for the best performers. For example, partner with a local bike shop to see if they would donate a brand new bike for the participant who collects the most pledges.

San Jose Sharks Wine Tasting Event

On March 5 Sampling with the Sharks will be hosted by the San Jose Sharks Foundation, a wine tasting fundraiser. To entice donor prospects they have chosen a venue few can resist, tasting the finest wines of Northern California. Attendees of this exclusive event will meet The San Jose Sharks players, coaches and broadcasters.

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“The San Jose Sharks are as deeply involved with the neighborhood we live in as we are with the game that we play. As role models, we feel responsible to give back to the community that so strongly supports us.”

The importance of building strong relationships with donors is shown by the Sharks Foundation’s Sampling with the Sharks wine tasting fundraiser, with their top donors being at the heart of this exclusive and exciting event. The event provides a casual atmosphere in which fans and donors interact with San Jose Sharks players, coaches, alumni and broadcasters – sharing stories of the game and their personal experiences. The collective shared excitement and passion for the game of hockey and life in the San Francisco Bay Area connect them in this unique and personal atmosphere – giving fans a truly once in a lifetime, up close and personal experience. The two hour wine tasting event includes 14 of Northern California’s most exclusive wineries, light appetizers, Live, Premier and Silent Auctions with proceeds benefiting the Sharks Foundation’s grant process and numerous programs dedicated to enhancing the lives of youth and families in need in the Bay Area.

The Sharks Foundation is proud to announce that partial proceeds from Sampling with the Sharks presented by Citrix wine tasting fundraiser will benefit San Jose Rotary’s partnership with Rotaplast International. Rotaplast International, a 501(c)(3) non-profit humanitarian organization, was founded in 1992 as a world community service project in an effort to provide free reconstructive operations and treatment for children in need.

You’ll find a great collection of free online fundraising resources including: creative fundraising ideas, fundraising software to help you manage your fundraiser, numerous fundraising templates for you to download and customize, helpful fundraising tips and guidelines, along with numerous planning tools for your next fundraiser. Whether your organization is hosting a walk-a-thon, charity golf tournament, online charity auction, school fundraising campaign, church fundraiser, and any other kind of fundraising event or donation appeal, these resources will help you achieving success.