Fundraising Social

Could everyone be getting social fundraising wrong?

on July 13, 2017

 We hear it often called ‘peer-to-peer’, ‘crowdfunding’, ‘P2P’, and a few other things. Social fundraising is definitely being talked about in both the nonprofit and direct giving space a lot these days. But as I read through post after post a thought occurred to me, what if everyone is sort of ‘missing it’ with social fundraising? There seems to be something larger here that nobody is really talking about.

The issue may be with how it’s being characterized. The majority of people tend to describe it like they would a new channel or new trend for getting donations. They talk about new strategies, tactics and top 5 lists. They outline how you might ‘add it to your mix’ of community and donor engagement, as if all it takes to be successful is tweaking your comms a bit.

That’s certainly not what we’re seeing at CrowdRise and GoFundMe. What we’re seeing (and what we truly believe) is that social fundraising is a direct result of a fundamental shift in how people interact with each other. But, a bit more on that in a moment.

What’s your age again?

Here’s something interesting: the internet (for the majority of people) is just barely over 20 years old. Amazon was founded in 1994 and Windows ‘95 was the gateway used by most people to gain access to the internet for the very first time. To put that in perspective the telephone has been widely available in the U.S. for 120 years.

What about ‘web to social’,’ Web 2.0’, and social media? Facebook and YouTube were founded between ‘04 and ‘06. So, they’re just a smidge over 10 years old. The amount of influence that those two networks alone have had on our lives in such a short amount of time is nothing short of mindblowing. Change this swift and complete is not to be taken lightly. It’s not a fad or a moment. It’s our belief that social media has forever created a fundamental shift in the way we engage and have conversations. It’s never going back.

So wait. What is social fundraising?

We (CrowdRise and GoFundMe) have started to think about social fundraising as the following:.

Passionate people who desire to make change
+  A shift to including everything we care about in our own personal narratives 
+  Constant access to the internet via mobile
=  Social Fundraising

“I was told there'd be no math on this exam.” -Troy Dyer

Said another way, social fundraising is how your supporters these days want to engage with your cause, make it their own, and show the world how they care and give back. All through the megaphone of their mobile device and social networks.

It’s a pretty dramatic shift in the way we think about charitable giving and cause awareness from even couple years ago. And it’s what we’re 110% focused on at CrowdRise and GoFundMe right now.

We’re already seeing so many nonprofits embrace this shift in their fundraising and they’re crushing it. Instead of just going out with a message about giving, they’re empowering their community to retell the entire story, bringing in new fans - and yes, new donors.

They’re providing the tools their supporters need to launch fundraising efforts on their own, blending the cause story with a personal one. And then, getting to watch them bring their friends and family into the fold to give, support, and share.

The power of the crowd is real. When a passionate supporter takes on your story as part of their own, it resonates with their networks on a much more personal level, making it nearly impossible to ignore.

This is what we’re seeing every day on CrowdRise, GoFundMe, and in the world. Some nonprofits are already embracing this fundamental shift. We believe they’ll be the winners. Others will resist. We believe they will find it very difficult to stay relevant in the next 4 to 5 years.

What started out as a quick blog post is starting to look like a mini manifesto, so I’m going to cut this one short. Just know that we’ll be continuing to have conversations here on the blog about how Social Fundraising seems to be changing the game for everyone.

And we couldn’t be more excited about it.

Gary Wohlfeill

Gary Wohlfeill is the Director of Marketing at CrowdRise. He works with partners to develop highly engaging fundraising campaigns, and leads the marketing team in developing the CrowdRise brand. Gary has been named as having the “3rd best haircut of people under 6 feet tall at CrowdRise" and hopes one day to slip to 4th.