The DIY-Fundraising Movement Is Here: How the Digital Revolution is Liberating Our Inner Cause Advocate
20 September 2016 at 10:16 am
DIY fundraising is easier than ever as individuals and small groups of like-minded people use the digital tools formerly “owned” by larger organisations, to raise money and change lives, writes Dr Steve Francis, managing director of FrontStream Asia Pacific.
DIY fundraising has many variations, however for the purpose of this discussion, it refers to individuals creating their own fundraising campaigns for existing causes or in some cases, for their own causes or mission. We no longer need diplomas in IT. We don’t need to know HTML or understand the difference between RSS, CSS or CSV. So does this mean that access to good, easy-to-use tech is liberating the inner advocates in our community?
Of course established Not for Profits and organisations that need to actively fundraise, including schools and sporting clubs, also benefit from DIY digital-fundraising tools in the same way as highly-motivated, cause-minded people do. It’s a new era of fundraising for all!
Much of this shift in fundraising behaviour is due to the mass uptake of social media and user-friendly free apps and programs. Multiple platforms rely exclusively on user-generated content for their existence and ongoing engagement. Without friends there is no Facebook!
Peer-to-peer campaigns, in which participants undertake a challenge and ask their friends, families and colleagues to sponsor them, have greater reach and success, only once participants activate their network through their social platform of choice.
This is something charities are acutely aware of as they guide supporters who sign up for fundraising events, coaching them on how to maximise the number of sponsors supporting them through social channels. Peer-to-peer has grown beyond the scope of charity designed events. Runs, walks, swims and fasts still raise money for Not for Profits, however new fundraising capabilities like DIY are limited only by the motivation and inspiration of the creators behind it.
Crowdfunding has arrived
Many savvy individuals know how to manage a social media and digital campaign and have easy access to open platforms to create a donation page and start raising funds. Anyone can raise money for medical bills, an invention, or their favorite charity, which is why crowdfunding is a huge part of the DIY-fundraising movement. Crowdfunding as we know it today evolved out of micro-lending and peer-to-peer lending sites such as Kiva. What followed was the crowdfunding of today with the launch of IndieGoGo in 2008 and Kickstarter in 2009.
Crowdfunding is defined as using a digital platform to raise money to achieve a pre-designed goal, through asking for donations from the community, and the collective effort of friends, family and their networks. Crowdfunding is successful primarily due to the reach and ease of giving online via social media and crowdfunding platforms, leveraging social networks for maximum reach and exposure.
The ease of use and access to credible crowdfunding platforms, as well as billions of dollars raised by already successful campaigns over the years, is how crowdfunding has managed to underpin and boost the DIY fundraising movement. There are so many niche platforms including sites dedicated to charitable projects such as Fundraise.com, Chuffed.org and Globalgiving.org to name a few. Each of these crowdfunding platforms target individuals with a social mission as opposed to commercial enterprises.
The question for Not for Profits is, how does this affect fundraising income? The most likely answer is: not at all. DIY fundraising has the most direct impact on community fundraising and some organisations are embracing the movement by identifying an opportunity. For example, our FrontStream client Cancer Council is using our platform to encourage DIY fundraising. They have dedicated a page on their website, inviting people to design their own campaign and raise funds for their mission: no restrictions and no prescriptions. It’s the entrepreneurial approach to community fundraising. I can only see this type of fundraising increasing in reach over the next few years.
In many ways, the success and growth of DIY fundraising underlines the user-first principle, which notes that people ignore digital content and practice that does not meet their needs. This principle recognises that donors and participants have greater powers and skills to make decisions about who they will fundraise for, and how they will do it. This may be because individuals are now empowered to do it themselves through their handheld digital device. There is now a new way to ask for something for very personal and very urgent reasons.
The DIY fundraising revolution has arrived, it has validity and broad appeal, and savvy fundraisers are taking note and jumping on board for the ride.
FrontStream is a leading provider of integrated philanthropy solutions for Not for Profits across Australia.
Phone: 1300 330 118 | +61 (0)3 8379 0700