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Online Fundraising Part 2 by sylvng

Since writing the last article on DIY fundraising I’ve come across a plethora of other sites that help you to do fundraising, whether it’s for a specific charity, project, or your next door neighbour who’s in need of some help. Generally all the sites let you create a webpage of content, and help you market to potential donors, and of course, take donations. The sites charge differing fees as a percentage of your total donations, so make sure you know what the fees are before you plunge in. Other things to check include: what payment methods the site accepts from donors (PayPal and credit cards are common), what currencies are accepted, and how the site lets you withdraw the donated money.

Here are the sites, in no particular order:

  • Fundable – Fundable’s differentiating factor is that money is collected only if the goal is reached. So donors don’t have to worry that they’ve given to a project that might not get enough money to be completed, and fundraisers won’t be in a situation where they only have 50% of their goal achieved and don’t know what to do with the money. While it’s free to set up the fundraising page and to receive pledges, Fundable charges a 10% fee if the goal is reached and transactions take place. With Fundable you can fundraise for anything you want.
  • Firstgiving – Firstgiving is good if you want to fundraise for 501 (c) non-profits (the non-profits are vetted with GuideStar). They charge a 7.5%  fee, and has helped raise $102M for 28k nonprofits.
  • GiveForward – GiveForward, like Fundable, lets you fundraise for anything you want, but if you’re a non-profit, they’ll require identification, and regardless of who you are they’ll be vetting your project to make sure you’re not fraudulent. From a donor’s perspective I can definitely appreciate that, because there are a lot of deserving projects that aren’t tied to non-profits, but but there’s always the risk of fraud if you’re allowing everybody to ask for money. The GiveForward charge is 3%, and as part of their due-diligence, they send out cheques to fundraisers for donated dollars, and uses the time for the cheque to arrive to ensure that the reciepient is legit. Interest earned on fundraised money that has not been issued out as a cheque goes towards non-profit projects posted on GiveForward.org.
  • GiveMeaning – GiveMeaning is free! Yes, no transactions charges for creating your page, as GiveMeaning uses donors and advertising dollars to cover all the costs, including the credit card processing costs. There is a caveat, however, and that is that they require to you gain 100 votes from the community for your project (which can be almost anything) before activating the page to receive money. This guarantees that there is at least some support for what you’re doing.
  • Givezooks! – all the other sites listed above allow you to create a fundraising page, but once that’s done, there are limited marketing tools for you to get the word out there about your project. Of course the existing donor community on the site itself will see your page, and you can email out links or do your own marketing. But with Givezooks!, all of that is marketing can be right at your fingertips, if you’re a nonprofit organization. Givezooks! is fully integrated with the main social networking sites, has email marketing wired in, and even lets you create custom thank yous and gives you an analytics dashboard. With all this functionality there is a price, and while I couldn’t find the costs on the main site, there are sample costs posted here; it’s essentially a flat fee from $99 – $399 a month, depending on your organization’s size. Because it is a flat fee, the more you raise, the more economical it becomes.
  • MyCause – MyCause allows you to fundraise for any registered charity, sporting, community, religious, political or social group, and charges 6.5% plus bank fees. Since MyCause is based in Australia, all donations are made in AUD. This month (August 2009) they are raising money for 247 different charities based on the projects that users have created.

If you’ve tried out any of the above sites and have positive or negative experiences to share, I’d love to hear them!

And if you have a few spare dollars, check out these sites – there are some amazing projects that can use your spare change.

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DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Online Fundraising by sylvng

Sometimes a cause touches your heart so much that you just want to help in any way you can. And often the best way to help is to fundraise, because what cause couldn’t use more money? With microphilanthropy online, fundraising for your favourite cause is a cinch.  Already lots of organizations let you fundraise with online pledge forms when you participate in events like Ride for Heart or the CN Tower Climb for WWF (and in my opinion online pledge forms have really boosted donated dollars). But even without those events there are many easy ways for to you do your own fundraising:

  • If you have your own website or blog where you already sell your cause, use ChipIn or TipJoy to start raising money! ChipIn is more for any website (including most social media sites), while TipJoy is for Twitter, but both let you create your own fundraising campaign widgets to add to your site. You set the monetary goal, and the widget will give you a goal thermometer to display, with % achieved and number of contributors. Both ChipIn and TipJoy use PayPal so make sure you have an account first. Then write some heartfelt words about why people should donate to your cause, do some outreach, and watch as the money flows in!
  • If you don’t have a site yet, use Yourcause.com to create one. YourCause has over 1,000 charities for you to choose to support, and has all the tools for you to create a fundraising site. Not only does the site have a goal tracker, but you can add blogs, photos, and resources. Then you can go to the community with your page to gain supporters, and possibly even win an award from YourCause for your good work.
  • If you’re lacking ideas for some creative methods for fundraising, check out Do-It-Yourself Fundraising Ideas. Although the ideas are not necessarily for online use, many of them can be adapted. For example, instead of creating a physical cookbook to sell for fundraising, why not create a digital cookbook? Or hold a beauty contest online, where contestants send in photos. Be creative!

Some examples of the TipJoy and ChipIn widgets are below. If you’d like to see the real ChipIn widget in action go to www.designerheart.com. A friend of mine is expecting and unfortunately found out that his baby girl has a congenital heart defect. He created Designer Heart after realizing that parents in similar situations could use some mutual support. If you have a few spare dollars, Chip In!

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