Redbird Communications

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16 powerful online fundraising tools for raising money and awareness

By James Mulvey Every nonpro!t or social enterprise wants to raise a ton of donations and awareness through viral social media promotion. While there are plenty of tools and platforms out there, it takes bit of time to !nd the best ones for your campaign. But raising money and awareness is less about !nding the !nding the right online tool than it is an e"ect of putting a compelling and extraordinarily unique story out there. The reach of your online fundraising campaign in social media is determined by the#quality of your message. The better story you can tell about your cause and organization, the further it travels. That said, here are some of best online fundraising sites we’ve discovered for raising awareness and inspiring behavioral change. 1. Chipin.com# This is a widget that you can add to your Facebook page, website, or blog. It’s essentially an online fundraising target that you can use to track a fundraising goal. What we like about this widget is that is it is great for partnerships (if you want, for example, to help out your favorite

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social cause on your corporate website), as well as an easy way to convert web tra$c into donors.#Time and cost? No fees. Takes about 15-30 minutes for a web developer (or someone with some basic website skills) to install. E!ective? Attached to a speci!c cause, this widget can be e"ective. One drawback is that it needs high tra$c to covert (for example, per 1000 people that see it, maybe 1 person would donate). 2. HelpAttack.com Help Attack is a fun, user-centered online fundraising platform that helps “build the act of giving into your online life.” It’s designed to integrate with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and has interactive features such as collecting coins as you progress in your fundraising e"orts. Users get to choose the organization or nonpro!t they want to support. You can also add your cause or nonpro!t so that your supporters can !nd you. It’s a fun little online fundraising tactic.#Time and cost? Minimal set-up. Small fee to add your nonpro!t. E!ective? This site taps into the power of social networking and makes giving fun. It has raised about $300,000 so far for various charities and organizations.

3. CharityIntelligence.ca According to a 2007 study on charitable giving by Stats Canada, Canadians donated a total of $10 billion in 2007, which represents an increase of 12% in donations from the $8.9 billion

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reported in 2004.#While philanthropy in Canada has become quite fashionable, the recent rise in charitable giving and activity has also led to a trend toward “philanthropic capitalism”, meaning that donors are coming to expect more professional and business-like conduct from the charitable sector.#Charityintelligence.ca is a site that responds to this trend, helping potential donors !nd the most worthy causes. Its mission is to “identify Canada's most coste"ective charities through independent in-depth research and objective analysis.” It publishes a list of the charities to donate to, recommending that people donate to these high impact organizations.#Cost and Time? Application process takes some time and resources (50-100 hours?); it is designed to look deeply into the operations and budget of a charity. E!ectiveness? If successful, this site could generate high returns: inclusion in their annual recommendations for donors; exposure to serious donor networks; and creditability for your organization’s existing communications. 4. Givemeaning.com Started in Vancouver BC, this site has helped hundreds of non-pro!ts and other worthy organizations raise awareness and funds for their campaigns. The site’s goal is to connect your organization with new donors, acting as a hub for donors to come and !nd new nonpro!ts to support.#While anyone can submit a project proposal, there are a few conditions: you have to be a Canadian registered charity; you have to submit a proposal that outlines a speci!c tangible outcome; 9.99 monthly hosting fee, and each new project has 30 days to collect 100 votes of support.#Cost and time? 5-8 hours to set up. E!ective for raising awareness and funds? Yes. Lots of BC charities have bene!ted from this site. The set-up is simple and not very time-consuming. 5. CanadaGives.ca# Over the next decade, Statistics Canada predicts that baby boomers will receive considerable wealth and assets from their a%uent parents – an estimated $800 billion to $1 trillion of inheritiances.CanadaGives.ca is an organization that helps Canadians get the most out of their charitable donations, including “access to a turnkey administration service for creating or building their own endowment(s) as an alternative to establishing a separate foundation.”#In other words, this organization doesn’t solicit any new donors; it just manages existing ones. In their words: "CanadaGives#is a “donation vehicle for the committed philanthropist.”#Time and

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cost? No direct fees and a simple sign-up process. E!ective? De!nitely, especially if you have a history of attracting large donors. 6. Firstgiving.com 3 million online donors, 1 billion in donations raised, and 8,000 non-pro!ts--this site has the ability to do some serious online fundraising for your organization.#Time and cost? 5% commission; $300 dollars to use their software and you must be registered with Guidestar. E!ective? While this site has a large network and established presence, most likely your success will depend on how much energy and resources put into your pages and energy you invest in encouraging peers to share. Estimated time to see a return—20 to 30 hours.

7. GoBidCharities.com Have a charity auction coming up? Then make it even more e"ective with this online fundraising tool.#This site allows charities to collect items that are then sold in an online auction. Your auction can run up to 3 months.Time and cost? 15% commission; no registration fee. Requires you to upload pictures, set prices, and collect items to sell (8 hours and upwards). E!ectiveness? A nice feature is that you can run online auctions at the same time

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as a live event (such as a Golf Day or 24 hour marathon), helping to extend the reach of the event online. 8. Yahoo's Create for a Cause Yahoo’s Create for a Cause is an annual contest that takes submissions from October 11, going through December 3 (based on last year’s rules). Winners have their ad placed on the Yahoo login page, resulting in massive group exposure. Winners can potentially reach millions of viewers. Last year, it seems that only American non-pro!ts could enter. There doesn’t seem to be a Canadian version. Time and cost? Unfortunately, the competition is sti". You need to develop a high-quality digital advertisement and past winners have been submissions from international creative agencies—lots of entries, lots of creative competition, and a timeconsuming entry process. E!ective? If you have a really exceptional campaign, you have a chance at winning exposure to millions of viewers. 9. YouTube Non-Pro!t Program# Did you know that YouTube has a special channel for raising awareness?#On the YouTube NonPro!t Program, charitable organizations and other social marketing and health promotion organizations can post their videos (through their existing channel) and have the option of having a “donate now” button.#Time and cost? Setting up is quite simple, maybe a few hours to apply. E!ective? With any viral campaign, it’s important to not confuse the medium with the message. YouTube doesn’t make people and videos famous. It’s only a channel that helps to spread incredibly exceptional and amazing content. The best strategy is to test with some smaller videos to see what stories create the most response. 10. KevinBacon6 Degrees of Separation# Started by the actor Kevin Bacon, Sixdegrees.org#lets non-pro!ts and worthy organizations to create fundraising badges which are shared on the site. The idea is based on viral fundraising —your cause needs to be shared and picked up by people.#Time and cost? Low (a few hours). No fees. E!ective? Yes. But don’t expect it to be a major fundraising source. It can integrate well with other tactics such as Facebook.

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11. Change.org Trying to raise awareness for a contentious social issue? Change.org is a platform to raise some serious noise about big issues like Gay rights, labor disputes, and other social-orientated causes. It’s designed with a grassroots theme and has a simple sign-up process. The site allows you to write a petition, upload some photos and info, and then let your cause grow.#Time and cost? Just writing a petition and signing up. No fees. E!ective? Good place to get some grassroots support and could be e"ective in driving tra$c to your website, if your cause gets some attention from the community. 12. Dosomething.org Want to get teens involved in your cause? Then Dosomething.org is de!nitely worth checking out. This site is#designed speci!cally to engage teens with social causes. Any teen can post a project and try to build support for it. They can also form clubs.#Time and cost? No !nancial cost. But requires trying to get teens to set up an account. E!ective? The site’s easy integration with Facebook could tap into the large social networks of teens. If your target audience is teenagers, this might be an e"ective awareness and fundraising platform for you. 13. LinkedIn for Good# If your health organization or non-pro!t is active on LinkedIn, this is an easy and e"ective online fundraising tactic. It basically allows LinkedIn users to use “non-pro!t badges” to promote various organizations through their professional network. As some non-pro!ts and health organizations have large professional networks, you might want to consider adding this to your networking and fundraising mix.#Time and cost? A few hours to set up, no cost, and most of the work (and success) depend on the response of people in your network. E!ectiveness?This tactic most likely bene!ts larger National organizations (such as the American Cancer Society), but it is relatively easy to set up. 14. Canadahelps.org This site allows people to search for their favorite non-pro!t and to give an online donation. It’s pretty useful during a speci!c fundraising campaign, especially if you are a smaller organization.#Time and cost? Free, easy set-up. E!ectiveness? Great alternative to setting up

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credit-card processing—just register your charity with the site and direct your donations through Canadahelps.org. #

15. JustTextGiving.com Use your fast texting skills. . .for a good cause. Justtextgiving.com helps fundraisers by tapping into the power of mobile phones. Based in the UK, the platform has raised over 700 million pounds for over 8,000 charities. It only takes a few seconds to set up a page for your charity, and easily integrates with Facebook, email, and iphone apps.#Time and cost? Really easy set-up, only a few minutes. The fee is a small monthly charge and a 5% fee on every gift, which is used to pay for web development and hosting. E!ective? A great way to integrate your online fundraising with mobiles and smart-phones. 16. GiveForward.com# Giveforward.com helps people easily create a fundraising campaign for friends or a favorite cause. You set up a page, tell people about your cause, promote your page in Facebook and other social media, and then spread the word through friends, websites widgets, and from exposure on the site. While this site is designed for micro-giving campaigns, it can be an e"ective way to encourage your donors to launch their own little fundraising campaigns on your behalf.#Time and cost? Small commission fee and easy set-up. E"ective? Giveforward.com has helped raise over 4 million for causes. It’s mostly for micro-campaigns but has an easy setup.

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Some Final Tips:# Remember, most online fundraising tools are similar: they are simply platforms to connect your cause to an audience. As a result, it’s best to concentrate on a few platforms, rather than blasting your message thin across every new widget that comes out. It’s easy to think that the platform will do the work. But the real e"ectiveness of online fundraising tools depends on the ability of your organization and cause to capture a big emotional space with your stories, videos, and fundraising communications. Good luck! If you need help creating an e"ective online fundraising strategy, the Redbird Communications Team#is here to help.#

About us Redbird Communications specializes in health promotion, awareness campaigns, and behavioural change workshops.#Our clients include the Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon, BC Hydro, government ministries and other private and public-sector organizations that in one way or another work to make the world a healthier, happier place.