With all the opportunities offered by social media online, non-profit organizations have more resources than ever to get the word out about their cause. Especially with the rise of popular crowd-funding sites. Non-profits can create a fundraising page for their cause (or a business can set one up for a cause they support), and then people can donate money directly on the site.
There are many sites on the Internet that allow for fundraising, but some truly are a cut above the others:
Causes is wonderful in that it allows Facebook users not only participate in collective campaigns, but it also lets them launch their own. Users can invite friends to the cause, run campaigns, and even distribute petitions. If you garner most of your publicity through Facebook, this can really cut down on the time you spend on multiple platforms.
Crowdwise is another great fundraising site for the social-media savvy. Donors can even win prizes as an incentive to give. For every dollar donated or raised, the user receives 10 points towards the prize. This can be a great way to enrich success on fundraising and activities that already have a bit of traction. What’s even greater is that basic accounts are free.
DonorsChoose is designed specifically for classroom projects. Teachers are the ones who submit the projects, and then they can basically just sit back and wait. Once their project price has been met by donors, the site purchases all the desired project items and ships them directly to the school. As a little bonus, too, DonorsChoose even gives a cost report and project pictures, so donors can see how their donations were spent.
Firstgiving is awesome in the options it allows donors and non-profits. They actually allow donors to cover transaction fees that are normally paid by the non-profit. In addition, they have fundraising campaign management tools integrated into the site, so non-profits don’t have additional software. Plus, similar to Causes, anyone can build a fundraising page on behalf of the cause.
Jumo is like a social network. Whereas Causes was fully integrated with Facebook, Jumo was actually created by the co-founder of Facebook. As you might expect, the two sites function very similarly. With Jumo, donors must have a Facebook page. In 2011, Jumo partnered up with Good, another fundraising site, so it will interesting to see if the two combine and build a fundraising powerhouse.
Choosing the Right Site for You
Fundraising websites are still relatively new, so regardless of which one you choose, make sure it is both legitimate and safe. Depending on the cause your trying to get money for, privacy may be a great concern for your donors. Always look for safeguards.
Beyond safety and legitimacy concerns, which fundraising site for you depends on which platform you think you can manage the best. The page must be easily maneuvered by not only you, the non-profit, but those who wish to donate to your cause as well. Sometimes the best site is simply one that allows you to personalize your page the most.
Since you’ll find that most fundraising sites charge processing and service fees, always make sure you’re getting the best deal for your money. You may be best served finding a software that best meets your needs, and then choosing the online fundraising site that fills in the gaps, so you don’t end up paying twice for the same tool.
Common Features and Tools to Look For
- Campaign management
- Custom fundraising solutions
- Donation and pledge management
- Donor tools
- Reporting and analysis
- Grant tracking and management
- Volunteer management
- Constituent management
Keep in mind, these fundraising sites are not magical pages that do all the work for you. How well they work for you depends on how persuasive you make the page, how much momentum you already have behind the cause and how well you publicize. So, it’s worth taking the time to look around and see which one will work best for you.